THE majority of Scots want to see more skilled people coming to Scotland from overseas, according to the results of a recent poll.

The study, done by the Diffley Partnership for Migration Policy Scotland, spoke to 2035 Scots between February 1 and February 5.

Responding to the poll, 59% said the number of skilled worker visas given out should be increased, with 26% saying they should stay the same and 9% urging a reduction.

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The number was also almost half (48%) when respondents were asked specifically about health and social care workers, with 25% wanting the number to remain at the same level and 18% believing it should go down.

In total, 61% also agreed that employers should be able to look outside Scotland to fill vacancies, a figure that increased to 79% for sectors with “critical shortages” – such as health and social care.

Control of migration remains under the control of the UK Government, despite an attempt by Nicola Sturgeon in early 2020 to secure powers for a Scottish-specific visa system to address shortages in the workforce.

Dr Sarah Kyambi, the director of Migration Policy Scotland, said: “The socio-economic and demographic challenges facing Scotland are immense, and migration will play an important role in meeting these.

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“Our research suggests that the Scottish public wish to see a pragmatic response to these real-world challenges at a time when our politics and policymaking is implementing an ever-more restrictive regime.

“This risks squandering the opportunity for more rational, evidence-driven consideration of migration policy in favour of inflaming division.”

While Professor Bobby Duffy, a director at the Policy Institute, added: “This survey shows the Scottish public are nowhere near as negative or exercised about immigration as the rhetoric often suggests, which is a pattern we see repeated in UK-wide surveys.

“That’s not to say that people see no downsides or don’t want more control – but more see the benefits and need for immigration, particularly to support the economy.”