Following reports that Priti Patel (pictured) is looking at withdrawing the UK from the part of the European Social Charter that gives foreign workers a discount on visa fees, the SNP has slammed the Tories for even considering it, saying it will further damage the ability of Scotland’s businesses and NHS to recruit.
The UK currently has some of the highest visa fees in the world.
Coupled with the loss of freedom of movement as a result of the Tories’ hard Brexit, the UK is already facing significant challenges to recruit.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) has warned that the UK care sector could be devastated due to many EU citizens potentially losing their right to work over night on the 30th June – the deadline to apply for settled status.
Commenting, the SNP’s Immigration spokesperson, Anne McLaughlin MP said:
“The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the contribution of those who have come to the UK to work and make it their home.
“They have helped to make up the backbone of our society – and our NHS. Without them people’s health care and ability to get food would have been at risk.
“Priti Patel is ignoring all of this in her misguided quest – based solely on ideology instead of facts and common sense – to make the UK more isolationist on the world stage.
“The UK government has already had to charter flights to bring in hundreds of workers from EU countries to help farms in Scotland and the rest of the UK survive, and we have been warned time and again that our car sector could be crippled without the contribution of foreign workers, and now they want to make it even harder to recruit vital workers.
“The Tories repeatedly refuse to learn lessons and Scotland is suffering as a result.
“For too long, UK immigration policies have threatened to plunge Scotland’s working age population into decline, cause serious staffing shortages in key industries – including in agriculture and hospitality – and inflict lasting damage to our public services, which risks leaving Scotland poorer and worse off.
“Holyrood must have the full powers of independence so we can build a migration system that works for Scotland.”