EU migrants to Scotland contribute £4.4bn in GDP each year
EU flag - image credit: PA
EU migrants to Scotland contribute more than £4.4bn to GDP each year, according to new analysis from the Scottish Government.
The analysis, submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee, shows that each of the 128,000 EU nationals working in Scotland contribute an average of £34,400 to GDP every year.
The status of European workers in the EU is part of negotiations between the UK Brexit department and the EU.
But the Scottish Government has warned that an end to freedom of movement between the UK and EU would disproportionately affect the Scottish economy.
Submitting the Scottish Government’s response to the MAC, Europe Minister Alasdair Allan warned that restrictions on migration from the EU would hit the agriculture sector, financial services companies and the NHS.
The analysis shows that EU nationals have a younger age profile than the Scottish population as a whole, with 61.1 per cent of EU nationals living in Scotland aged under 35 years of age, compared with 41.5 per cent for Scotland.
Meanwhile the employment rate for EU nationals was 76.8 per cent, higher than the overall rate for Scotland, which sits at 73 per cent. The employment rate for non-EU nationals is 57.5 per cent.
Allan said: “As these new figures confirm, workers from other EU countries bring huge economic benefits to Scotland. These findings are in line with previous research which support that migration positively impacts regional economies.
“Businesses big and small, the agriculture sector, financial services companies and our NHS are concerned about no longer being able to employ them.
“The health sector could be hit hard. Currently, EU citizens are filling hard-to-fill specialisms and areas of acute shortages. Ominously, recent figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirm that since the referendum, the number of EU nurses and midwives registering to work in the UK is declining.
“EU citizens and their families also make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live, including in remote and rural areas. That is why we believe fundamentally that continuing free movement of people is in the best interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole.”
The Scottish Government found that 36.7 per cent of EU nationals aged 16-64 in Scotland have a degree level qualification or higher, compared to 27.6 per cent of UK nationals based north of the border.