Home Office to provide evidence that Scotland needs its own immigration policy after it emerged there is flexibility in the current system that has barely been used.
The UK Government said the Scotland-only list included just two categories of professions – physical scientists and medical professions – covering a total of five specific jobs.
His intervention, in a Westminster Hall debate in the Commons, undermined Nicola Sturgeon’s hugely complicated plan for a special Br exit deal so that Scotland could stay in the EU single market when the rest of the UK comes out.
The First Minister has demanded control over nearly all Westminster’s powers, including immigration, to make the blueprint work as freedom of movement would have to continue north of the Border.
However, the Tory Government has demanded evidence that this would provide a better outcome than Theresa May’s plan to strike a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU with a new UK-wide immigration system.
There is a separate list of job titles and occupations for Scotland, which allows employers to recruit migrants into jobs officially in shortage without the need to first conduct a resident labour market test.
Priority is given to migrants taking jobs on the list and they are exempt from an earnings threshold that applies to others apply for a Tier 2 work permit for skilled personnel. The MAC regularly reviews the list after consulting Scottish employers.
Mr Goodwill also challenged the Nationalists to explain why Scotland is not attracting a higher share of migrants. Only 3.4 per cent of Scotland’s population is from the EU compared to 4.9 per cent across the UK as a whole.
But Pete Wish art, an SNP MP and the committee’s chairman, said his response to the report was “woeful” and accused him of ignoring its findings.
He said there was a “singular failure” to take into account Scotland’s specific requirements and argued this would damage its economy.
In a direct challenge to Mr Goodwill, Mr Wish art said: “If he is not going to listen, if he going to defiantly refuse to give use these powers, we will take them in a referendum of the Scottish people and then we will get these powers and then we will make progress.”