David Duguid MP welcomes clarification from UK Minister on new immigration plans

David Duguid MP at Portsoy harbour
David Duguid the MP for Banff and Buchan has welcomed clarification from UK Ministers that key industries in the north-east will be able to access the workers they need under new immigration plans.

David Duguid the MP for Banff and Buchan has welcomed clarification from UK Ministers that key industries in the north-east will be able to access the workers they need under new immigration plans.

Concerns have been raised by NFU Scotland and the Scottish Seafood Association this week that the ‘points-based’ system proposed by the UK Government will lead to shortages of labour.

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However, in a piece published today, Secretary of State for Scotland Allister Jack has made clear that the definition of “skilled” workers will be changed.

Businesses across our key economic sectors will continue to be able to attract the right workers.

I’m confident they will continue to thrive. One reason for that is our decision to redefine what a “skilled” job means.

Under the present system, only degree-level jobs count as skilled. But we want to recognise many more of the jobs our economy depends on – and ensure people with those skills can continue to come to Scotland to work.Alister Jack

Contrary to many reports in recent days, that will include fish filleters and fish processors, butchers and slaughtermen in abattoirs and dairy workers who operate milking machines.

The system will also be less restrictive than at present, as people coming to the UK currently need the offer of a degree-level job, with a salary of £30,0000 or more.

Employers recruiting them must also pass a Resident Labour Market Test by advertising the job here first. In future, there will be no Resident Labour Market Test and no cap either, as there is at present.

The minimum general salary threshold is also being lowered from £30,000 to £25,600. Lower salaries will be applicable where there are specific skills shortages.

David Duguid, Scottish Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan, said

I have had discussions in recent days with representatives of fisheries and agricultural sectors, who have expressed concerns about what has been reported about the new UK immigration proposals.

While MPs will still need to scrutinise the detail as legislation works its way through parliament, there are several elements of this that have been clarified today.

For example, the fact that jobs in our fish processing plants and abattoirs will be classed as skilled will mean that employers will still be able to recruit from overseas as they do at present.

The reduction in the general salary threshold and the removal of other administrative burdens will make it easier to get the staff that our businesses need – not just from the EU but from around the world.

However, we are only at the beginning of this process. The UK Immigration Bill still has to be presented and work its way through parliament and will be subject to detailed debate, scrutiny and amendment by all MPs from all parties in the House.

We need an immigration system that works for all regions and nations of the UK, and I am determined to ensure that it delivers for the key industries here in Banff and Buchan.

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