Richard Lochhead MSP (pictured) has described the UK Government’s Immigration Bill as disastrous for Moray and says it is unforgivable that our Conservative MP backed the Bill in the House of Commons this week.
Mr Lochhead has warned that any moves to prevent workers coming into Moray would be devastating for the local economy and has described the UK Government’s definition of unskilled workers offensive.
A central part of the UK Government’s plans include the introduction of a salary threshold of £25,600. In Moray 60% of earners earn less than that each year.
Earlier this year Mr Lochhead held a summit with public and private sector representatives from across Moray to discuss the proposed immigration bill and what it would mean for local businesses, services and the wider economy.
Commenting Moray’s SNP MP said:
“The UK Government’s Immigration Bill will be absolutely disastrous for Moray and will slam the door shut for people from overseas who could contribute a great deal to our economy, our communities, and wider society.
“One of the last meetings I chaired before lockdown, was a roundtable discussion with representatives from Moray’s private and public sector, where they shared powerful contributions on the serious implications of the UK Government’s approach for our economy and our public services.
“We’re lucky in Moray to be home to thousands of people who have chosen to move here from other parts of the world and many of those wouldn’t have been allowed into the country under these new rules.
“The most serious aspect of the Bill is the minimum salary requirement for applicants to be allowed to come here in the first place.
“It is a completely arbitrary figure that has been plucked out of the air and defines anyone who is earning less than £25,600 a year as ‘unskilled’, which is just offensive. 6
“0% of workers in Moray earn less than that and they are not unskilled – they are essential.
“Our Conservative MP regularly posts on social media about clapping our carers and NHS workers, but that all feels remarkably hollow when you vote in favour of new immigration rules that would have prevented many of them from coming here to work in the first place.
“It is unforgivable that Mr Ross has voted in favour of a Bill which will cause real and lasting damage the Moray economy and to our public services.”