Designing a pilot remote and rural migration scheme: analysis and policy options
This report sets out analysis and policy options to inform a potential pilot scheme for migration to remote and rural areas of Scotland.
Scotland’s remote and rural areas face significant demographic challenges. A legacy of selective out-migration over the last decades of the twentieth century means that most remote and rural areas are experiencing negative natural change (more deaths than births), and their population is declining as well as ageing. At the same time, low levels of net migration from other areas of Scotland, the UK and overseas (especially compared to Scotland’s cities), means that population decline is not being offset by in-migration. Population ageing and decline can have a range of negative effects for local communities, reducing their capacity to sustain local services and businesses.
These challenges were highlighted in the first Expert Advisory Group (EAG) report, which argued that in-migration of working-age migrants was the only viable option for averting a downward demographic spiral. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) acknowledged the issues in a May 2019 report, noting that the ‘only way to address this question in the UK context would be to pilot a scheme that facilitated migration to these areas, then monitor what happens over several years and evaluate the outcomes’.
In order to develop an evidence base for designing and piloting a remote and rural migration scheme (RRMS), the Scottish Government commissioned the EAG to prepare a report on how such a scheme to attract international migration to these areas might operate, and its potential impacts on remote and rural communities.
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