Nicola Sturgeon says Tories are ‘morphing into UKIP’ with immigration approach

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

CONSERVATIVE immigration policies show the party is “increasingly morphing into Ukip”, the First Minister has said.

Nicola Sturgeon criticised Tory manifesto pledges to reduce immigration to tens of thousands and to double the levy on skilled workers from non-EU countries to £2,000.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, the SNP leader said: “We see today as the Tories publish their manifesto a recommitting to an immigration target they know is undeliverable, but they also know that in the process of trying to deliver that target they will do untold damage, not just to the Scottish economy but to the UK economy as a whole.

“We also see them today reportedly publishing proposals to increase the amount of money that employers have to pay if they want to employ skilled migrants from outside the EU.

“As the British Medical Association has pointed out, that includes doctors and nurses and other people working in our health service.

“So, not only will we make it harder to recruit people into the health service – harder perhaps to recruit people into the teaching profession from outside the country – but we will also charge our public services when they are trying to do so.

“This really sums up the fact that the UK are pursuing an immigration policy that is damaging to the economy of the country and, of course, they are doing so as they are increasingly morphing into Ukip.”

Ms Sturgeon agreed to look into a case raised by the SNP’s Gil Paterson, who appealed for her to intervene after a university lecturer in his constituency of Clydebank and Milngavie faces deportation.

Mr Paterson said Glasgow University lecturer Kevin Parsons, a Canadian national, who lives in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, with his wife and two children and has recently been in receipt of a £1.32 million research grant from the UK Government, faces deportation.

The MSP claimed the Home Office has “repeatedly given Dr Parsons the wrong information, which has led to this personal crisis”.

Ms Sturgeon said the case as outlined by Mr Paterson “seems to illustrate the complete wrong-headedness of the UK Government’s approach to immigration”.

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