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The question of Scottish independence has come up again recently. Visas to visit Scotland ??????    

 

We are told :


          Scottish independence would open up the country to mass immigration.
         
      Visa Plus    In her speech to the Scottish Conservative conference, Theresa May said that if Scotland joins Europe’s borderless Schengen area it “will open Scotland’s border up to mass immigration”.
          A number of constitutional experts and unionist politicians have warned that Scotland  would have to reapply t o Europe  if  it separated  from  the  UK.  They argue  that the rest of the UK would  retain the opt-outs it has negotiated over the years , including  the  right to  hold passport checks at  the UK border through its opt-out of the Schengen Agreement, but Scotland would not. Some have argued  that  this will  result in the  necessity  for passport checks at  the Scottish border, but the Scottish National party insists it will share the UK’s successor status and retain its opt-outs.     
           An SNP spokesman said: “Apart from the fact that there is already free movement for all citizens across the EU , including the UK ,  an  independent Scotland and the rest of the UK will both be successor states – and will therefore inherit exactly the same status within the EU, including not being in the Schengen area.
                
             “An independent Scotland will also inherit the Common Travel Area which exists across the UK and Ireland, and provides for no border controls for the citizens of these islands.”
              He said Scotland would have responsibility for its own migration policy.“It is in the interests of the UK government to stop scaremongering on these issues, because their silly claims are rebounding back on them. The lesson for UK politicians is to be careful what they say about Scotland, because the same attacks apply to them – the anti-independence parties should adopt a more positive and constructive approach.”
           At  the  time  of  writing  we are still waiting  for the government’ proposals on Family Migration to be published. By the time you read this, they may have been finalised. The latest is as follows:
           A  letter from Mrs May  to Nick Clegg seen by The Sunday Telegraph proposes a tough new minimum income   of   £ 25,700   a  year  for  anyone seeking to bring a spouse, partner or dependant to the UK from outside the European Union from June - almost double the current threshold of £13,700.
           The minimum income would rise dramatically - up to £62,600 - if children are also brought in.
           Mrs  May also  wants a  longer  probationary  period  of  five  years  before spouses and partners can apply to live permanently in Britain, and a higher level of English to be required.
           The proposals could cut the number of immigrants allowed in by 15,000
a year  -  a significant step towards the Government’s aim of reducing  “ net ”  migration to 100,000 people each year.
          The Home Secretary tells Mr Clegg that outline plans for a reduction in numbers who come to Britain through the “family route” won “broad public support” in the coalition’s consultation last year.
          In 2010, some 48,900 visas were issued under this category. The majority of those who come to settle in Britain using this method are women from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
 
         Mrs May adds: “The package which I propose to implement from June 2012 will reduce the burdens on the taxpayer, promote integration and tackle abuse.”
 
The Home Secretary also refers in the latter, dated 14 March, to a need to “differentiate between genuine and non-genuine relationships” - a clear sign that ministers believe many of the marriages entered into under the current system are sham.
 
         She tells Mr Clegg: “In particular I propose a minimum income threshold of £25,700 for a British citizen or person settled in the UK to sponsor the settlement of a spouse or partner of non-EEA [European Economic Area] nationality.”
 
         For a partner with one child, the income threshold would rise to £37,000 a year, for two to £49,300 and for three children it would hit £62,600 according to the letter.
 
       The “probationary period” before which spouses cannot apply to live permanently in Britain would lengthen from two to five years under the proposals while the “level of English required to achieve settlement” would be raised.