Fears have been raised that Brexit is leading to major staff shortages after worker registrations fell by nearly a quarter in Tayside and Fife.
The SNP pointed the finger at “narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric” for the decline, which they say risks leaving public services under-staffed.
The number of overseas workers registering for National Insurance fell from 7,995 in 2015 to 6,068 last year in Courier Country, a drop of 24%.
That compares with the Scotland decline of 18%, according to SNP analysis of the Department for Work and Pension figures.
In Fife, there are nearly a third (30%) fewer registrations, a steeper drop than in Perth and Kinross (25%), Angus (17%) and Dundee (15%).
Kevin Stewart, the SNP MSP, said: “The UK government’s hostile approach to migration is failing Scotland.
“The Tories’ anti-immigrant obsession and narrow-minded Brexit rhetoric is driving people away from Scotland, putting our economy and vital public services on the line.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has told the Commons: “We remain open to business and to people from around the world, and we will continue to be so under the new immigration system—a skills-based immigration system—that we will be introducing when we leave the EU.”