HOME OFFICE plans to curb immigration after Brexit will cut the number of European workers eligible to work in Scotland by a staggering 85%, the Scottish Government has claimed.

External Affairs minister Fiona Hyslop is expected to tell MSPs today that the UK Government’s Immigration White Paper, released by the Home Office last month, will cost Scotland billions and be “economically disastrous”.

When he launched the paper, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the new system would be based on UK needs rather than where migrants were from.

“We are delivering on the clear instruction to get control over our borders and will bring in a new system that works in the interest of the British people,” he said.

The proposals include a minimum salary requirement, expected to be around £30,000 for skilled migrants seeking five-year visas. EU citizens taking up positions in lower skilled work, such as agriculture and food and drink, would need to apply for a 12-month visa.

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Hyslop is due to deliver a statement in Holyrood today on the implications of the new post-Brexit rules.

She is expected to tell MSPs that the UK Government’s own assessment of their immigration proposals is that “up to 85% of future workers who would otherwise have come to Scotland from Europe would no longer be eligible under these new rules”.

She will add: “The proposals in the UK White Paper would be economically disastrous for the whole of the UK, but most especially for Scotland. If the UK Government ever achieved its net migration target, to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands, our economic modelling suggests that Scotland’s GDP would be £10.2 billion lower by 2040 than it otherwise would have been.”

Hyslop will tell Parliament that the EU’s free movement of people has been “of enormous benefit to Scotland”.

The SNP will also call on the UK Government to devolve powers over immigration to allow ministers in Edinburgh to set visa rules and criteria,

Scottish business groups have heavily criticised the Tory plans.

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CBI Scotland director Tracy Black said the proposals in the White Paper “don’t meet Scotland’s needs or the needs of the UK as a whole, and would be a sucker punch for many firms right across the country. The UK Government’s own analysis suggests people and regions will be poorer as a result of them”.

“The Government cannot indulge in selective hearing,” she added. “It tunes in to business evidence on a disastrous Brexit no deal, but tunes out from the economic damage of draconian blocks on access to vital overseas workers.”

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, described the plans as a “clear threat to many of Scotland’s businesses and local communities”.

He added: “These proposals will make it nigh impossible for the vast majority of Scottish firms to access any non-UK labour and the skills they need to grow and sustain their operations.

Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance chief executive said the White Paper plans would “exacerbate the existing recruitment crisis considerably, placing our tourism industry and what is one of the most important economic drivers for Scotland in severe jeopardy”.