Despite pressure from a host of MPs, at the end of October 2016 the UK government rejected proposals for London-only and Scotland only visa schemes. An official report signed by newly installed UK immigration minister, Robert Goodwill, determined that ‘such a system would not be conducive for UK employers.’
However MPs have not given up and are still pushing for regional UK visa schemes. This year the all-party group on social integration has renewed calls for a regional UK visa scheme. They feel that local quotas would help increase confidence in the UK immigration system.
Following the result of June’s referendum, the push for post-Brexit regional visa schemes gathered pace. London Mayor Sadiq Khan provided details for a London visa from the City of London and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The government’s rejection of regional visa schemes comes in response to a report produced by the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee, which urged Westminster to review plans for a formal post-study work scheme for Scotland.
An official statement from Westminster said: “We do not consider a Scotland-specific visa scheme to be in the best interests of the integrity of the UK immigration system, or in the interests of UK employers and landlords who would be required to check whether a migrant’s status restricted their ability to work to Scotland.”
“Such a scheme would not be practicable, for example, for employers who are headquartered in Scotland but need the flexibility to deploy their staff to other parts of the UK to engage in employment activity,” the statement added.