Scottish Government
Printable version

Migrants’ positive contribution.

Scotland’s migrants are well educated and economically active.

Migrants in Scotland are making a positive contribution to our economy and society, Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said today. 

Mr Yousaf was responding to new analysis published today by Scotland’s Chief Statistician that shows half of all migrants aged 16 and above in Scotland are qualified to at least degree level.

The data, based on the 2011 Census, also shows migrants aged between 16 and 74 were equally likely to be economically active as Scotland’s population as a whole.

Speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate this afternoon on post study work visas for overseas students, Mr Yousaf said:

“This data shows our migrant population is well educated, works hard, is in good health and has much to offer our economy and society.

“At 369,000, our migrant community stands at around seven per cent of our entire population. Our migrants are typically younger than the Scottish population as a whole, and they are just as likely to be economically active as the rest of Scotland.

“This data busts many of the misconceptions that exist about the impact and contribution of migrants in Scotland. It demonstrates that most of our migrants are here to study, work and contribute.

“In particular, migrants who have come to Scotland from other European countries within the last ten years are most likely to be economically active, and of those from outside Europe who were less likely to be economically inactive, almost a third are here to study.

“This data highlights the positive contribution that migrants make to Scotland’s economy and society, and the role they can play in addressing Scotland’s demographic challenges.

“We need to grow our working-age population to support and strengthen our economy. So we must be able to attract and retain more world-class talent to fill vacancies which cannot be filled by resident workers. That is why the Scottish Government continues to push for the reintroduction of post study work visas to allow our overseas students to stay in Scotland for a defined period of time on completion of their studies.

“Immigration policy is currently too heavily influenced by the priorities of the south east of England, based on the values of the current UK Government and driven by a desire to reduce the numbers of incoming migrants which does not recognise Scotland’s needs and does not serve our economic or societal interests.

“Scotland’s needs are different to those in the rest of the UK. Scotland has a large, established migrant community and the Scottish Government welcomes the contribution new Scots are making to our economy and society.”

Notes To Editors

Characteristics of Recent and Established EEA and non-EEA migrants in Scotland: Analysis of the 2011 Census is available here:

The Post Study Work working group report on post study opportunities for overseas migrants is available here:


Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Scottish Government