Migration Debate and Policy Innovation in the Context of the Scottish Referendum
Journal of International Affairs (Columbia University), 2015 Forthcoming
Posted: 4 Nov 2014
Date Written: January 4, 2015
On 18th September 2014, Scotland held a referendum as to whether to become an independent state. Although the outcome of the vote was 55% in favour to remain within the UK, the debate itself has encouraged lively democratic discussion, which has also led to changes and innovations in policies such as immigration. Moreover, according to the latest studies, the overall attitudes to immigration in Scotland are less negative than in the rest of the UK. 41% of the Scottish population consider immigration as being good for Scotland, whilst 31% consider it a negative issue. As such, the referendum debate has allowed the Scottish people to have an honest and in-depth conversation about the consequences of having either an open or restrictive immigration policy. The overall aim of this paper is to analyse the migration debate in more depth, considering which issue were discussed before and after the 18th September 2014. Insofar as the outcome has left room for further devolved powers from central government, innovative migration policies are necessary and should be welcomed in a scenario of increasingly demanding city-regional devolution, going far beyond the nation-state.
Keywords: Migration, policies, independence, devolution, nation-state and city-region
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