What affects how Scotland thinks about immigration

First thoughts on today’s Migration Observatory report on the IPSOS Mori poll on regional support for reducing immigration to the UK…

Pat Elsmie, Chair Migrants’ Rights Scotland

Largely the Migration Observatory’s report “The Variation Enigma” presents responses that reflect the general intuitive reaction to immigrants by Scots. A national liberal psyche does embrace new arrivals and does appreciate the desire for everyone’s capacity to contribute to the overall good and welfare of the nation.


However, as is the limitation of any poll, the sample group may not have included the broadest spectrum of opinion, particularly that which receives the high attention of the tabloid media. Today’s Everyman concerns are having as much impact on the ground as elsewhere across the United Kingdom: the difficult conditions in employment and the economy are biting deep. There will no doubt be Scottish opinion coming to light after this Migration Observatory report that declare negative sentiment about immigration and immigrants.


What is most interesting in the Variations Enigma is the standout result that “surprisingly, Scotland has the highest levels of support of any region for reductions in immigration of high skilled workers”.


It is an enigma and there may be a host of reasons why. It really suggests that deeper or different questions need to be asked of the Scottish people:

How aware are we of the skills we need across the nation?

Of the skills we have already.

Of the skills we are being trained or should be trained to achieve?

Of  how those relate to national, UK and global, economic and social drivers.

How realistic are we of what we are capable of right now, today?

How and what are we (not just the Government) prepared to do to ensure the future of the country?


As the UK (and of course Scotland) faces societal and global challenges, as we all negotiate our place in 21st Century reality, net migration has been presented as a cure-all. It may be wise to sidestep the high tension of ping pong between the political parties and look to resolving the many and complex needs of People.


No doubt this includes migrant people in a world that has been created by migration flows over time immemorial.


Read more:

News: Migration Observatory’s new report “The Variation Enigma”