Speaking for Ourselves

Scotland's Stance on Migration is Welcoming

Scotland's Stance on Migration is Welcoming

Nathan Akehurst

 Migrant Voice - Scotland's Stance on Migration is Welcoming

Scotland’s positivity about migration is welcoming, and particularly so, following a difficult year for migrants. It was with the support of Scottish government ministers, councillors and a university that last weekend (January 21st), Migrant Voice held our first conference of the year in Scotland.
Those who came heard talks from experts, academics, politicians and activists, whilst taking part in interactive and practical skill-sharing workshops from media relations to reporting hate crime.
The conference heard from Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, the Scottish government’s minister for International Development and Europe, on the work that Scotland has been doing to support cohesion, tackle hate crime and make new migrants feel welcome. The event was also addressed by GCU’s Dr Ima Jackson alongside deputy vice chancellor, Professor James Miller and Habib Rahman and Nazek Ramadan from Migrant Voice.
Of course Scotland is not perfect; and of course, much needs to change in how migrants are perceived in Scotland as anywhere else in Britain. But attitudes in the media and politics, across parties, are notably tolerant and provide many examples of what a fairer approach to migration might look like.

Glasgow, where the conference was held, is the most diverse city in Scotland, with a long history of welcoming new migrants. More recently, it has had significant involvement in the UK’s asylum seeker dispersal scheme and is now home to the largest asylum seeker population in Britain. Since 2000, the city’s Integration Network has seen the voluntary and charitable sector play a vital role in helping asylum seekers adjust to life in Glasgow.

This was underpinned by the response from public services such as health, social care, housing and education, which ensured barriers to access to services were overcome.

Glasgow has now been described as an integration model for other European cities. One fifth of Glasgow’s population comes from a minority, including significant numbers of newcomers from the EU over the last decade. And it’s not just Glasgow – even the rural Highlands are becoming more diverse.

The political leadership of the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council are different, but the commitment to welcoming people of different nationalities and faiths is shared. Migration has been welcomed as a social and financial good, with Scottish officials now warning that migration controls pose a danger to Scotland’s culture and economy.

Dr Allan’s speech made clear that he aimed to recognise the value that migrants bring, saying that “There is robust evidence that migrants are not a drain on society and can contribute significantly if they are given the same rights and opportunities as any other citizen. Scotland’s 369,000 migrants from outside the UK are mostly young, economically active and highly qualified.”

Such clarity has not always existed from politicians south of the border in recent years; and many could benefit from a look north.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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