Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP has called for the devolution of migration powers, following a massive fall in the number of European Union (EU) citizens choosing to join the education workforce in Scotland, as insecurity surrounding the UK’s impending departure from the EU grows.
The most recently published figures by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) show that only 14 EU teachers from six nations have applied for registration so far in 2018, a dramatic decline compared to the 186 received last year.
The starkness of this contrast is further illustrated by the fact that over previous years, there had been a steady upward trend from 128 applications in 2015, to 159 in 2016 and 186 in 2017.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP said:
“Scotland voted clearly and decisively to remain within the European Union and we have repeatedly demonstrated that this is the best option for Scotland’s future.
“These figures show the stark reality of Brexit. Already highly-skilled and hard-working EU citizens are thinking twice about choosing to live and teach in Scotland which will not only have a negative impact on the education workforce but our economy and society as a whole.
“Last year we had citizens from almost every EU member country applying for GTCS registration but, so far this year, citizens from just six countries have applied to live and work in Scotland. The GTCS - the independent body that registers teachers - has made plain that Brexit is driving this slump.
“Once again this underlines the clear case for the SNP Government, accountable to the Scottish Parliament, to set the rules for a migration system tailored to meet the country’s needs.
“It is vital we continue to attract the very best candidates to work within the Scottish education system regardless of their nationality. Our young people deserve no less.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Scotland has differing needs and wishes to England and as such, requires a system tailored to meet Scotland’s requirements. We need EU-citizens with the appropriate skills to come and strengthen our workforce.
“It is bad enough that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against its will. Now we are already seeing the damaging impact. Immigration must be devolved to limit this.”