The Scottish National Party has raised serious concerns about housing and health proposals in the new UK government Immigration Bill to be debated today (Thursday).
The Bill includes provisions to charge temporary migrants for NHS services, set requirements for landlords to check tenant’s immigration status and allows for additional levies for temporary migrations which could be detrimental to higher education institutions and the wider economy.
Although immigration and asylum are reserved to the UK Parliament, housing and health are devolved issues. The Scottish National Party will attempt to exclude Scotland from these provisions within the Bill because they have not sought the consent of the Scottish Parliament on what are clearly devolved areas of responsibility.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Home Affairs spokesperson Pete Wishart said:
“The appalling provisions included in the immigration bill clearly impacts on our devolved services and the UK Government are arrogantly imposing their UKIP inspired agenda on our devolved responsibilities. Scotland wants nothing to do with the race to the bottom on who can be hardest on immigrants and they should stay right out of our devolved responsibilities.
“The bill proposes a charge of £200 on short term Scottish migrants and will require private and registered social landlords to work as proxy immigration officials. They will need to check the immigration status of prospective and current tenants under penalty of up to £3,000.
“There has been next to no discussions with the Scottish Government on these measures and there has been no legislative consent motion requiring Scotland's consent to legislate on our behalf. These ill-advised measures on immigration will have damaging consequences on our health service just as it will have a devastating impact on attracting foreign students to our top universities.
"The UK Government have to respect Scotland's right to run the health service according to Scottish values and I hope that tomorrow they will accept my amendments and keep Scottish public services right out of this."