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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 December 2005, 11:28 GMT
Ex-pat Scots 'should come home'
The SNP says there should be a plan to attract ex-pats home
Efforts should be stepped up to entice ex-pats to return home to Scotland, according to Nationalists.

The Scottish National Party is making the case for targeting the country's "Diaspora" as part of moves to stem the country's population decline.

The Scottish Executive already has its Fresh Talent initiative, aimed at bringing more workers into the country.

But the SNP said more needed to be done to bring home the 1.5 million people it said had left Scotland since 1980.

"Our message to the Scottish Diaspora this New Year should be to come home to Scotland," said justice spokesman Kenny MacAskill.

We should be setting out a specific plan to provide the support needed to bring these workers home
Kenny MacAskill
SNP justice spokesman

"Our skills shortage and our demographic time bomb mean that bringing our own folk home is essential.

"While we must do what we can to make Scotland a welcoming place for those wishing to come here to work, we should not forget that many Scots have left our shores to pursue a better economic future."

The SNP said Ireland had attracted 280,000 new workers in four years by targeting its ex-pat communities.

"It's not so much the successful Scottish ex-pat in Canada who has put down firm roots in foreign communities who we need to target, but the bus driver in Manchester and the oil workers in the Gulf," added Mr MacAskill.

Tackle depopulation

"These groups of workers are the educated and talented who have not been presented with the opportunities to stay and work at home.

"We should be setting out a specific plan to provide the support needed to bring these workers home."

The executive's Fresh Talent initiative encourages foreign workers to come to Scotland in an attempt to tackle depopulation.

Visa extensions are also available to enable overseas students to stay in Scotland for a further two years after their graduation.

SNP says ex-pats are key to reversing depopulation

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