The post-Brexit future of thousands of people from the EU working in Scotland will be the focus of a meeting between north business leaders and the Scottish Government’s Europe Minister Ben Macpherson next week.
Inverness Chamber of Commerce is holding a roundtable event with Mr Macpherson and representatives of a range of sectors with an interest in the issue in the Highland capital.
Chamber chief executive Stewart Nicol said that with ministers keen to hear views on a specific Scottish approach to migration, the meeting will explore how business could benefit from changes to the current system. This, he added, could include a “Scottish visa” within the existing points-based arrangement.
Writing in the The Leader, the P&J’s business magazine for the north, Mr Nicol said: “These issues are not only worth discussing, it is essential we get them resolved as soon as possible for the benefit of employees, employers and the economy.”
He continued: “Some 24,000 EU nationals work in tourism in Scotland – 13% of all those who work in the sector – and 10,000 are in food in drink, which is 12% of all those working in the sector.
“Free movement has been essential, with skilled and unskilled labour helping tackle employment needs in many parts of the country. We need to ensure they are able to continue to be part of our workforce post-Brexit.
“Many businesses depend on these workers and having a clear policy on their future would remove uncertainty for both the employees and the businesses that rely so heavily on them.”