Wales wants more control over immigration measures

A group of MPs has urged the UK government to consider letting Wales take some control regarding immigration to the country.

The all-party group suggests that the UK government could devolve some immigration control to the nations – a move which would allow Wales to be able to set its own visa criteria and quotas for migration.

The calls come following a report on how the UK’s immigration system could promote better integration carried out by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration.

“Shaping immigration criteria to address nation or region-specific economic and cultural needs might instil confidence among members of the public that the immigration system works for their area”, the study said. “Enabling nations and regions to set regional immigration quotas would create new incentives for politicians to actively make the case for immigration in their area,” it added.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson, Steffan Lewis, told Wales that it makes sense for Wales to have a greater input into immigration measures. “Plaid Cymru has long advocated a Welsh visa system to boost our public services such as the NHS and support the private sector in attracting high skilled workers from around the world,” he said. “It is also of great regret that Westminster policies have damaged our reputation as a destination for international students. Student visas should be devolved and would benefit our universities and our economy.”

He continued: “Plaid Cymru believes that the UK withdrawal from the EU risks Wales being cut adrift from the world. A Welsh visa system would enable us to continue to be an outward-facing country that is attractive for business and research and innovation.”

The all-party group has urged the UK government to use Canada as a potential example of how it could devolve immigration powers. In Canada, each province operates its own Provincial Nominee Programme which offers it the chance to bring in a selection of more targeted migrants each year – some which may not be available through the federal system. The only exception to this is Quebec, which runs its own immigration system, completely independent of federal one.

Article published 5th January 2017