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Last Updated: Friday, 7 May, 2004, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Website targets foreign talent
Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell lanched the website
A website promoting Scotland as a destination for foreign workers has been launched by the First Minister Jack McConnell.

The internet service is part of the Scottish Executive's 'Fresh Talent' initiative to encourage more people to live and work in Scotland.

Scotland's population is projected to fall below five million by 2009.

The executive believes that moves to attract foreign workers are necessary to halt or reverse this decline.

Mr McConnell unveiled the new website during a visit to Glasgow with the UK Home Secretary David Blunkett.

'Vibrant cities'

Stressing the need to attract new workers, he said: "The biggest single challenge facing Scotland is our falling population, and if we are to succeed in the global economy, we need a constant flow of fresh talent to flourish alongside our home-grown talent.

"The signs are that Scotland is already proving to be a magnet for people and we will build on that with our Fresh Talent website.

"The website is just one of the practical things we can do to help those interested in living and working in Scotland.

Jack McConnell and David Blunkett
The home secretary was in Scotland for the launch
"Scotland is an exciting to be just now. We can offer an unrivalled quality of life, our economy is growing, and our cities are amongst the most vibrant in Europe."

Mr McConnell launched the Fresh Talent project in February this year, after outlining the challenges posed by Scotland's falling population.

Other elements to the scheme include a one-stop relocation advisory service to advise on jobs, accommodation, visas, work permits and education, which will be operational from October 2004.

According to official figures there was almost a 300% rise in work permits issued to Scottish employers between 2000 and 2003.

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