Joint call for urgent meeting on immigration
The Scottish and Welsh governments have today written to the Home Office repeating their urgent call for a meeting to discuss the UK’s new immigration system.
The joint letter from Migration Minister Ben Macpherson and Welsh Minister for European Transition Jeremy Miles points out that despite multiple requests, no meeting has yet been offered since July 2019. The new rules will take effect when free movement to and from the EU ends on 31 December.
The letter states: “With one month left to the end of the transition period, we are increasingly concerned that the devolved governments have not been given an opportunity to meaningfully engage on the impact of the planned changes and the end of freedom of movement.
“This is particularly worrying as migration is a cross-cutting policy area affecting many aspects of devolved competency – including housing, healthcare and the delivery of vital public services.”
The text of the joint letter to Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, is below:
We write to reiterate our urgent request for a meeting between all four nations of the UK, to discuss migration policy. Following the roundtable meeting on 23 July 2019 with Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP, Scottish Government Ministers and Welsh Government Ministers have written to UK Government Ministers multiple times to request engagement, and yet we have still not been offered a meeting to discuss the end of the transition period and the planned changes to the immigration system that are scheduled to commence imminently on 1 January 2021.
With one month left to the end of the transition period, we are increasingly concerned that the Devolved Governments have not been given an opportunity to meaningfully engage on the impact of the planned changes and the end of freedom of movement. This is particularly worrying as migration is a cross-cutting policy area affecting many aspects of devolved competency – including housing, healthcare and the delivery of vital public services.
As you know, we continue to engage with the Review of Intergovernmental Relations and draft proposals in good faith. A key part of the review is that intergovernmental decisions will continue to work on the basis of agreement by consensus in areas of mutual interest. Given the crucial importance of keeping all our citizens safe now and as we emerge from the pandemic, it is vitally important that we seek to work together on areas where devolved and reserved issues intersect, like migration.
We hope that we can rely on your cooperation and engagement, and that a meeting is arranged prior to the end of the transition period, to ensure the future prosperity of all nations of the UK.
We are copying this letter to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, and Diane Dodds MLA, Minister for the Department of the Economy, Northern Ireland.
Ben Macpherson MSP
Minister for Public Finance and Migration
Jeremy Miles MS
Counsel General and Minister for European Transition