Migration minister to join private roundtable with gaming industry figures over Brexit concerns

Ben Macpherson MSP

Scotland’s migration minister is set to meet with computing gaming industry companies today to hear about the concerns for the sector over Brexit.

Ben Macpherson MSP was due to hear first-hand from digital leaders at a private meeting held at Abertay University in Dundee; a report last year warned that a no-deal or ‘hard Brexit’ could cause serious harm to an industry that contributes £2bn-a-year to the UK economy.

Dundee, which is synonmous with the gaming industry, having been home to Rockstar North, founded as DMA Design – which created Grand Theft Auto – and also the first place in the UK to offer a computer games degree in 1997, at Abertay University.

Scotland’s computer games sector employs 1,285 people, generates £98.9 million annually and recruits a significant number of highly skilled citizens from elsewhere in the EU.

Industry figures have warned that Brexit, and an end to freedom of movement, will make it more difficult to attract the staff they need.

Speaking ahead of the roundtable discussion Mr Macpherson said: “Brexit presents major challenges for all our creative industries and therefore it is vital to understand their concerns and what initiatives each sector could benefit from.

“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the games sector to Scotland’s economy and this roundtable is an important opportunity to explore how UK immigration policies and any Brexit process could affect the industry.

“In an area like the games sector, where it is necessary to compete internationally for the best developers, designers and talent, we need migration policies that enable Scotland to maintain its strong reputation as an open, welcoming and attractive place to live and work.”

Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics, said: “As Europe’s leading university for computer games education, Abertay attracts some of the most talented students and academic staff in the world, so an immigration system that allows for smooth mobility is important to us as an institution.

“Having a diverse international mix on campus highly benefits the Abertay student experience, adds value to our research and supports the quality of our teaching.”

The Scottish Government has made available support grants of up to £4,000 for businesses to help them prepare for Brexit. In the past four years Scottish Enterprise has provided £11.5 million of financial support to some 40 games companies in Scotland.

The Scottish Government is currently engaging with the UK Government on the design of the UK’s future visa and immigration system, and urging the UK Government to minimise barriers for EU citizens.

All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years is projected to come from migration.