A senior group of immigration lawyers, working on behalf of the Scottish Government, said Scotland could fight to keep the EU’s freedom of movement rules while remaining within the UK. Experts at the Fragomen legal firm said it would be “entirely possible” to amend legislation going through the Commons in a report commissioned by Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party.
This move would be a direct challenge to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans for an Australian point-style immigration system.
It is also evidence of the SNP’s wider plan to keep Scotland tied to the EU despite the UK’s momentous decision to unshackle itself from the bloc.
The report said: “Free movement is currently given effect through the Immigration Act 1971.
“The Act is likely to be amended by the Immigration Bill 2020 to remove free movement for the UK as a whole.
“A more limited amendment could potentially allow free movement to continue in Scotland.
“As now, Europeans would be free to travel to Scotland and start work without an immigration document, relying instead on their European passport or other acceptable documents.”
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“The UK’s future immigration system may consider these policy options, alongside the success of similar working systems elsewhere in the world.
“Regional migration has worked for other countries, why not Scotland in the UK?”
The report added: “Europeans who subsequently wish to move to other parts of the UK would only be allowed to live or work there having met the particular work, study, or family immigration requirements of that region.
“It would be an extraordinary measure to meet an exceptional need.”