MP for Perth and North Perthshire, Pete Wishart has called for a break in bureaucracy and an increase in sensitivity to be applied to immigration cases.
Mr Wishart, who is also the SNP Home Affairs Spokesperson, made his comments as he intervened in a constituency case which saw a Perthshire mother and two young children forced out of Scotland following the unexpected death of her husband.
Mr Navjot Singh and his wife Nidhi came to Perth in 2004 and their first daughter, Kashish (8) was enrolled in a Perthshire primary school. Their second daughter, Tanisha, was born in Scotland.
Under immigration rules they would have been eligible to stay in the UK indefinitely next month, however Mr Singh died early this year. Now his widow and children are being forced to leave. Mrs Singh agreed to return to India with her children earlier this year, because she did not want to remain in Scotland illegally.
Mr Wishart has actively worked on behalf of many constituents who have had difficulties with the Home Office and who have much to contribute to the local economy and community life. He intervened in the case of Swarthick Salins, who was denied the right to stay in Scotland due bureaucratic difficulties.
Mr Wishart said of the case:
“The Singh family are in a dreadful situation. I am appalled by what has happened and this shows how bureaucratic and rigid the rules are.
“Mrs Singh has a degree in electronics and communications and has a useful contribution to make to the Perth community. Her children have started their education here and know no other country. Mrs Singh should be allowed to come back to the UK without being subject to this officious nonsense. What we need is a system that works on behalf of families placed in this particular and unusual situation.
“The new Australian-style “points system” (Tier 2), which has been recently brought in by Home Office, requires new immigrants to amass enough points, based on factors such as a employment, skills shortages and community links to gain entry to the United Kingdom.
“The points-based system has made the situation worse for the type of people we want to attract to Scotland. Under the old system, it was based more on the merits of the case and there was more discretion.
“I have, for many years, been calling for immigration powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament to reinvigorate the initiative. The current system is suited to the south of England, where there is no shortage of immigrants. In Scotland, we have problems attracting suitably qualified people.”
Unlike like the South East of England, Scotland’s population has fallen in recent years and its needs differ from other parts of the UK.
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