Migration in Scotland

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

2. Migration in Scotland

2.5 The impacts of migration

It is often argued that migration is a cause of — or at least a contributor to — a number of the problems that are faced in British society today.  Overcrowded cities, higher unemployment rates, lower wages, and increasingly stretched public services and housing stock are frequently blamed on increased levels of migration.

There is no doubt that migration has an impact on council services.  Any influx of people to an area places additional pressures on health and social care, social work and education services.  There are also costs associated with councils providing specific advice and information to new migrants together with interpretation and translation services and English as an Additional Language support.

In addition, councils have a duty to deliver services to foreign nationals who are destitute and have specific mental or physical health problems and no recourse to public funds.  There are particular complexities associated with the rights and entitlements of migrants in this regard, and councils must grapple with the complex legal and legislative frameworks that determine how they should respond to the needs of migrants living within their boundaries.

However, the evidence base around migration broadly shows that the negative effects are often outweighed by the positives.  Our briefing for elected members explores the impacts, both positive and negative, in more detail.

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This interesting report on public attitudes to migration in Scotland was commissioned in the run up to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014.  It provides a useful summary of public attitudes.  More people in Scotland think migration is good for Scotland (41%) than bad for Scotland (31%), although it should be acknowledged that many still have negative perceptions about its impact.

GRAMNet brings together a series of think pieces and blogs about migration in Scotland.  The network also host a wide range of research projects, including several focusing specifically on migration to Scotland and involving collaborations with Scottish local authorities.

We produced a think piece on migration policy in Scotland in the run up to the 2014 independence referendum.  It considers the different political ideologies which can influence this policy making.