MICHAEL Gove has come up with an idea of how to plug the shortfall of EU workers once the UK leaves the political union – by taking in migrants from Ukraine.

The UK Government’s Food and Rural Affairs Secretary made the suggestion in front of MSPs at Holyrood.

Gove said that industries could in future have to “think about looking further afield” when recruiting staff.

He also insisted that Scotland should not be allowed to set its own migration policy.

Some sectors of the UK economy, such as food production and the hospitality industry, have employed a large number of workers from other European countries – with Gove saying they had “relied on labour from abroad”.

In the run up to Brexit concerns have been raised about the impact leaving the EU could have on their workforce.

But Gove told MSPs on Holyrood’s Rural Economy Committee he was considering what action the UK Government to take to help those companies continue to recruit new workers.

SNP MSP Gail Ross had raised the issue with Gove, telling him businesses in “soft fruit, salmon farming and fish processing sectors are particularly dependent on migrant workers”.

She told him: “Some of these sectors have already seen a fall in people wanting to come and work here from the European Union.”

Gove argued that just as the pattern of where migrant workers came from within the EU had changed, firms might in future have to look further afield.

He said: “Over time the course of labour from different parts of the European Union in our agricultural and food production sectors has changed, a wee while ago it tended to be people from Poland and the Baltic states, now increasingly it is people from Romania and Bulgaria.

“And that reflects the relative stage of economic development of those countries.

For firms that rely on seasonal workers – such as the soft fruit industry – Gove added ministers were considering “what the appropriate means in the future might be for facilitating seasonal workers in order to make sure those businesses work”.

The Food and Rural Affairs Secretary was also questioned by Ross about whether it was time “hat Scotland had control over its own immigration” so that it could tailor the system to its needs.

Gove responded that it is important for the UK to work collectively on the issue “in order to make sure that migration policy works in all our interests”.