Labour migration policy and constitutional change in Scotland

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    Abstract

    Scotland is holding a referendum on independence in 2014, which implies that the Scottish government would become responsible for migration policy in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote. Control over labour migration could be a vital policy tool for the Scottish government, influencing long-run economic growth rates and demographic change. This paper explores migration policy in the context of alternative constitutional outcomes for Scotland. It asks what scope a small economy that is intimately linked to a neighbouring larger economy has in shaping immigration policy. It finds that the level of international migration to Scotland is relatively low and that there are some significant differences in migrant characteristics compared to the rest of the UK (RUK). It also considers the political economy aspects of labour immigration through analysis of recent survey data. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, we would argue that Scotland would benefit from a more nuanced approach to immigration policies rather than the current ‘one size fits all’ UK-wide model.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)310-324
    Number of pages15
    JournalOxford Review of Economic Policy
    Volume30
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Migration
    • Identity
    • Immigration policy
    • Earnings

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