Scotland needs 25,000 migrants a year

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The Daily Record is reporting that Scotland needs 25,000 immigrants a year or it will face "going under".

Since the 1950s, more than 800,000 people have left Scotland and the population is currently facing low birth rates and an aging population. Robert Wright, an economics professor and a top expert on migration, says Scotland needs to face some hard facts.

"I spoke at a conference recently and a person stood up and said immigration will change the character of Scotland," he said. "I said it certainly will but you have a choice. You either have the same character of Scotland and a lower standard of living, or a changed character and a higher standard of living."

"People don't want immigration but do want increased living standards. You can't have it all ways," he added.

Wright said a new strategy was needed to attract immigrants to Scotland and make sure they stay there.

"We need 20-25,000 a year net migration -- that's the difference between people coming to and people leaving Scotland," he said. "This is the minimum. And this is people staying for ever, not just two years and leaving. It's 25,000 a year, on year, on year on year."

He also said Scotland could face serious consequences if net migration begins to fall.

"Output will be reduced, there will be less tax revenue, Scottish economic growth will be lower and the country will become increasingly expensive," he said.

Wright said that the Scottish Parliament should be given its own immigration powers as Scotland's needs are very different from the rest of the UK. The British government is getting ready to implement a new points based system that will replace virtually all the estimated 80 different routes into the UK.

"Scotland has been, and still is, a massive exporter of people," Wright said.

The Fresh Talent scheme, which allows foreign graduates of Scottish universities to stay on in Scotland once they finish their studies, is expected to continue in operation after the UK's new points based system goes into effect.

Wright said he wanted to see Scotland get its own points based system which would allow migrants to live and work there for at least four years. His hope is that if migrants are granted an extended amount of time, they will decide to stay in Scotland and get UK citizenship.