A proposal put forward in Scotland suggests that Scotland should follow Australia's style of immigration, to make it easier to attract workers with rare skills to specified parts of the country, according to the SNP.
It should also organise immigration fairs in target countries, similar to those which lure Scots to other English-speaking countries, it said.
The proposal was put forward as a system that could work even without Scotland becoming independent, and which could apply in particular to the looming crisis as large numbers of offshore workers reach retirement age.
The SNP highlighted a "sister state" agreement signed this week by Jack McConnell, the first minister, during his visit to Australia. The SNP's Kenny MacAskill published research on immigration systems that showed Scotland's new partner, the state of Victoria, can choose how many highly-skilled workers it lets in.
He said Scotland could do the same and, similar to the Australian states, a condition of the work permit would be that immigrants would be required to remain in Scotland for a minimum period.