Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has highlighted the warnings of an independent expert group that The UK's proposed new immigration system could halve the number of people coming to Scotland, risking labour shortages in key sectors.

New research shows that migrant workers would be barred from 68.7% of jobs in the Western Isles under Westminster proposals. This would mean that the islands would be affected worse than any other local authority area in the country, shutting the door on our ability to recruit talented, skilled and dedicated workers from Europe and elsewhere.

According to previous analysis by the Expert Advisory Group, 53% of roles filled by employees in Scotland earn less than £25,000, including up to 90% of jobs in the care sector.

Holyrood’s Finance Committee has also warned that demographic changes could pose risks to Scottish public spending, and our ability to fund the NHS.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “The COVID-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated the UK’s reliance on key workers who have come to Scotland from all over the world.

“It should now be beyond doubt that people working in the roles which the Tories describe as ‘lower-skilled’ are absolutely vital to our communities.

“The islands are facing a demographic crisis and we sustained inward migration is a critical necessity. But despite the clear evidence, the Tories seem utterly determined to back Boris Johnson’s closed-minded plans which will be immeasurably damaging to the Western Isles and Scotland as a whole.

“We need the power to attract and retain the workers we need to fund our public services, and allow our economy to flourish.”

Table 1: Percentage of jobs falling below the £25,600 limit by Scottish local authority.

 Local authority

Wage threshold £25,600

East Renfrewshire

41.8%

East Dunbartonshire

46.5%

Stirling

47.3%

Shetland Islands

49.5%

Renfrewshire

50%

North Ayrshire

50.1%

South Lanarkshire

50.5%

East Lothian

50.7%

Aberdeen City

50.8%

City of Edinburgh

50.9%

West Lothian

51.7%

Falkirk

52.3%

Angus

52.3%

East Ayrshire

52.4%

South Ayrshire

52.5%

North Lanarkshire

53.4%

Midlothian

53.9%

Aberdeenshire

54%

Perth and Kinross

54.3%

Scottish Borders

54.4%

Fife

54.8%

Highland

55.9%

Glasgow City

56.7%

West Dunbartonshire

56.8%

Dundee City

59.3%

Inverclyde

60.9%

Clackmannanshire

61.2%

Moray

62.2%

Argyll and Bute

62.4%

Dumfries and Galloway

65%

Na h-Eileanan Siar

68.7%