Population growth vital for our economy

1 May 2014 12:54 PM

External Affairs Minister says migrants’ contribution is welcome

Commenting on figures released by National Records of Scotland, which show that Scotland’s population reached its highest ever total in 2013, Minister for External Affairs Humza Yousaf said:

“Healthy population growth is vital for our future economic growth and so the continuing increase in these figures is welcome news. The sustained trend over the last 10 years is positive, with more people coming to Scotland from the rest of the UK than leaving.

“We value the contribution migrants make to our economy, our culture and our society. That is why we are working hard to attract the best international talent to our universities and our workforce and why those who choose to make Scotland home will always be welcomed. The Scottish Government welcomes the contribution new Scots can make to our economy and society and these figures show that Scotland is an attractive and dynamic nation and one where people want to make a life for themselves.

“With full responsibility for immigration, an independent Scotland would be able to support the needs of Scottish businesses and help to address Scotland’s own demographic challenges. It would give Scotland the ability to tailor a robust new approach to migration to address our own specific social, economic, educational and demographic needs.

“The UK Government’s focus on arbitrarily reducing net migration irrespective of what value migrants might bring, what skills shortages they could address, or what contribution they could make to our economy and society, is wrong for Scotland and is harming our economic prospects. This approach has dramatically reduced the number of international students coming to Scotland from countries that have traditionally sent high numbers and undermines the Scottish Government’s efforts to attract the best international talent to our universities and our workforce.

“With independence, Scotland could bring back the post-study work visa route, which would attract more foreign students and help us to retain a much higher proportion of the international talent cultivated by our award-winning universities. An independent Scotland would have powers to address repeated calls from Scottish industry and academia for a more tailored approach to migration. It would give Scotland the tools it needs to attract talented workers, international students and graduates from other parts of the world to address our known skills shortages and help us cope with the long-term challenges that we know our ageing population will bring.”

Notes To Editors

The publication can be accessed here: http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2014/scotlands-population-at-its-highes t-ever