Surveying migration policy and practice in the independence referendum and beyond

Craig, S. (2015) Surveying migration policy and practice in the independence referendum and beyond. Juridical Review, 2015(2), pp. 157-166.

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The Scottish Government’s approach to immigration issues was portrayed during the independence referendum debate as valuing the contribution of migrants in a way which contrasted with the anti-migrant approach of the UK Government.1 The question of how much divergence from the immigration policies of the rest of the UK an independent Scotland might have pursued did surface in the context of discussions about EU membership, but it did not feature strongly. But when the Scottish Government’s approach is looked at in detail, it reveals pragmatism, and a preparedness to assume constraints on its pursuit of a separate approach to migration, in order to achieve its aspirations to participate in the Common Travel Area and the European Union. In these areas, the emphasis was on agreement, rather than on a separate approach. Reflecting now on the post-referendum landscape, a number of the divergences in migration policy put forward by the Scottish Government can be seen as continuations of divergences with roots which were traceable back to the early years of devolution. Some could be traced back to initiatives which, since immigration is reserved to Westminster, grew from co-operation between the Scottish Executive and the UK Government. This article identifies some of the variations in practice, and contributions in law and policy, which have featured in Scotland since devolution, and draws attention to the connections between the divergences which emerged following devolution, and those which formed part of independence proposals. Its aim is to add to our collective understanding of the kinds of differences in immigration and asylum law, and contributions to policy and practice which have been pursued, and which could still be pursued. It concludes by considering the impacts which UK immigration law continues to have in Scotland, and how these might interact with proposals for constitutional change.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Craig, Ms Sarah
Authors: Craig, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:Juridical Review
Publisher:W. Green

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