AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would be likely to pursue a more open immigration policy than the present UK Government, according to a set of new reports.

Studies organised by the Economic and Social Research Council found Scotland relied on immigration more than the rest of the UK to increase population.

It also found universities raised a bigger portion of their income than UK rivals from overseas students.

Researchers from the Centre for Population Change and the Migration Observatory found Scots were "less hostile" to immigration than people elsewhere in the UK.

They concluded: "Independence would give Scotland greater direct policy influence over inflows, with the expectation being that the Scottish Government would enact a less restrictive approach to immigration than Westminster."

Some pro-UK campaigners have claimed that an independent Scotland would have to follow similar immigration policies to the rest of the UK if border controls between the two countries were to be avoided.

But a spokesman for the Scottish Government said: "An independent Scotland will have full responsibility for immigration.

"This will give us the ability to take decisions that suit our own economic circumstances and ensure that we fulfil our international obligations to provide shelter for those fleeing violence and persecution."