An independent Scotland would launch a 'green card' immigration scheme

On Tuesday 26th November 2013, the Scottish National Party revealed its white paper Scotland's Future; Your Guide to an Independent Future which contains a detailed programme of policies that would be introduced by the first SNP government of an independent Scotland.

SNP leader Alex Salmond said that Scotland would introduce 'a points-based immigration system targeted at particular Scottish needs'.

There will be a referendum on Scottish independence held in Scotland on 18th September 2014. Most opinion polls show that the campaign for a 'no' vote (which would see Scotland remain within the UK) is well ahead.

'Yes' vote growing

However, a poll conducted by Panelbase in November showed the 'yes' to independence campaign improving its poll ratings.

Scotland's Future is, according to Mr Salmond, 'the most comprehensive blueprint for an independent country ever published'. This is almost certainly true. The paper is 670 pages long. It was immediately denounced by Alistair Darling, the leader of the 'no' campaign as a 'work of fiction full of meaningless assertions'.

The Guardian newspaper reports that Mr Salmond told a press-conference in Glasgow that a Scottish government led by him would introduce 'a green card system, similar to the one that operates in the Republic of Ireland'.

Scotland has 'differing demographic needs'

The paper states 'Scotland's differing demographic and migration needs mean that the UK immigration system has not served our interests," the document said. This government plans, following independence, a points-based immigration system targeted at particular Scottish needs'.

The paper states 'The system will enable us to meet the needs of Scottish society with greater flexibility. It could provide incentives to migrants who move to live and work in remoter geographical areas - assisting with community sustainability, or adding new categories of skills.

Mr Salmond has argued for some time that the immigration policy set by the UK government in Westminster is inappropriate to Scottish needs.

Scotland joined with England since 1707

Mr Salmond is currently the first minister of the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh. Scotland was joined with England as a single country by the Act of Union of 1707. In 1997, the New Labour government headed by Tony Blair introduced legislation to create a Scottish Assembly. The first elections for the newly devolved Scottish parliament were held in May 1999.

In June 2013, the Scottish External Affairs Minister Humza Yousaf said 'here's no doubt that the UK government's restrictive immigration policies are damaging Scotland's economy….Immigration is one of the only policy issues that I can think of that unites Scottish business, the trade unions, politicians, the universities because they're all feeling the impact of restrictive immigration policies'.

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