The Tory minister insisted Scottish nationalists should spend “a little more time” focussing on Scotland’s schools and hospitals rather than constitutional matters.
Last month, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the Scottish Government’s own Brexit proposals, including a demand for Edinburgh to be handed its own immigration powers.
The SNP has argued Scotland should be allowed to retain EU free movement rules, despite the Prime Minister’s pledge to put restrictions on EU immigration once Britain completes its departure from the EU.
Answering Home Office questions in the House of Commons this afternoon, Ms Rudd repeated the Government’s opposition to enabling different immigration controls across the UK’s nations and regions.
The Home Secretary said: “Applying different immigration rules to different parts of the UK would complicate the immigration system, harming its integrity and cause difficulties for employers who need the flexibility to deploy their staff over the UK.”
SNP MP Tommy Sheppard told Ms Rudd her comments were “infused with both arrogance and complacency” as he pointed to regional immigration policies in place in Canada and Australia.
The Home Secretary dismissed demands for Scotland to have its own immigration powers
I would urge the SNP to apply themselves to making Scotland an attractive place for immigrants to go to
Fellow SNP MP John Nicolson asked: ”Scotland needs more immigrants so given that, why doesn't she give us the power to choose our own targets, for our own needs, for our own country?”
The Home Secretary replied: “Scotland has sufficient powers, has its own powers, to do many things it could do perhaps to improve its education system, perhaps to improve its health system.
“But immigrants will come to a place where they see an improving education system, and improving health system.
“Perhaps the SNP should spend a little more time on applying itself to those important issues rather than constitutional ones.”
In response to a further SNP question, Ms Rudd told MPs: “We have an immigration policy that works for the whole of the UK and that's the one we will continue to support.
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“I would urge the SNP to apply themselves to making Scotland an attractive place for immigrants to go to.”
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Tory MP Stephen Crabb, the former work and pensions secretary, insisted “any separate immigration regime for Scotland or Wales would undermine the coherence of the UK and risk creating softer alternative entry points for the rest of the UK”.
Scottish Government minister Alasdair Allan recently warned limiting immigration post-Brexit could “seriously harm” Scotland’s economy.
Writing to the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee's inquiry into immigration policy, Mr Allan said a "key priority" in tackling Scotland's ageing population was attracting working-age migrants to the country.