ALISTER Jack has defended Boris Johnson’s post-Brexit immigration plans and claimed that they are ”good news for the Scottish economy.”

His support of the points-based system comes after they have been widely criticised by trade bodies and businesses. Even his own party was reportedly livid at the proposals which would make it far harder for people from overseas to come and live and work in the UK.

Effectively, only those skilled workers, fluent in English with a promise of earning over £25,600, will score enough points to be able to come into the country.

There would be some exceptions for industries where there is a shortage of workers, but they would still need to be earning at least £20,480.

Writing in The Herald, the Secretary of State for Scotland promised that the government would redefine what skilled trades are.

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He said: “As we prepare for a bright future outside the EU, it means we will be able to recruit the people we need to do the jobs our economy relies upon.

“Businesses across our key economic sectors will continue to be able to attract the right workers. I’m confident they will continue to thrive.”

The minister claims the government’s decision “to redefine what a ‘skilled’ job means” will be of benefit to agriculture and fishing sectors.

He wrote: “For all those jobs, and many more, employers will be able to recruit workers from overseas.The system will be less restrictive than at present.”

The new list of skilled jobs include agricultural staff like “dairy workers who operate milking machines” and butchers and slaughtermen working in abattoirs. “For all those jobs, and many more, employers will be able to recruit workers from overseas,” he promised.

In his article, Jack also insisted there would be “other routes for people we’ve often welcomed into our important hospitality and tourism sectors,” though he doesn’t spell out what those are.

The immigration plans have come in for criticism since they were unveiled earlier this week.

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Both the NFU and the Scottish Seafood Association have said they are now considering backing the Scottish Government’s plans to devolve immigration laws unless there are significant changes.

Key for both organisations is the threshold.

Most overseas workers in both sectors earn well below the £26,500 salary threshold.

Even if the government were to add those jobs to the occupation shortage list, which cuts the threshold, it would still be higher than what most workers earn.

On Wednesday, Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory leader, said the plans were a “work in progress”.

He said that he would lobby Johnson to push for a migration system “which is appropriate to Scotland’s needs”.

He added: “It’s a work in progress and I very much hope and intend that we will have a migration process, in the final analysis and detail, which is appropriate to Scotland.”

Asked if the UK system was wrong, he told The Herald: “I don’t think what’s being proposed by UK ministers actually has been properly understood in all its detail. Let’s just, over the next few days, wait and see what becomes available.”