Scotland an attractive place for foreign workers

Are you looking for a job in Britain? Then chances are that you will end up in Edinburgh or Glasgow rather than Birmingham or Newcastle. According to statistics from the department for work and pensions, Scotland together with London and southeast England attracts most migrant workers in the UK.

 By Elin Larsson and Natalija Sako

Scotland, UK: Adriana Noina from Adelaide South Australia moved to Scotland 6 months ago after traveling around Europe, and she found it a lot easier getting a job in Scotland than in the rest of the UK.

– I don’t know why, could have just been luck or timing but I think a lot of it has to do with attitude and work ethics. A lot of the Scottish people I worked with seem to not really want to work more than necessary whilst someone who comes here from abroad will want to work as much as possible”, she says.


Streets of Edinburgh. Photo Natalija Sako

She is currently working at Light house hostel just a stone throw away from the old city in Edinburgh. Her colleagues are from outside of Scotland too,
Australia and England, and she is not surprised that Edinburgh is the town attracting most migrant workers in Scotland.

– A lot of people come here to work, I’ve met a lot of people from Spain but also Australia and New Zeeland. Most people think it’s a lot friendlier here, and I agree. The local’s are a lot friendlier and it’s a pretty easy living lifestyle. In London there is a lot of work but also a lot more competition whereas here it’s more relaxed”, she says.

Nearly 37.000 migrant workers were settling down in Scotland last year. The largest group with over 7000 migrant workers came from Poland followed by India and Spain. One reason why jobs are so easy to find in the UK could be the low minimum wage. For Spaniards and Poles the UK salaries are not bad but for an Australian it is a huge step down.

The UK government has recently proposed tougher laws to stem the flow of ­migrant workers. One of the new restrictions on non-European Union immigrants include a minimum salary requirements of at least £31,000 and tighter student visa rules. Prime Minister David Cameron has also spoken of a more restricted access to state-funded benefits to incomers from the EU, in response to predictions about the number of workers who may travel to the UK from 2014 from the EU accession states of Bulgaria and ­Romania.

But in Scotland the politicians think differently. Political leaders have highlighted the economic benefits of migrant workers. According to the Scotsman the External affairs minister Humza Yousaf MSP said the Scottish Government welcomed the contribution the migrant workers could do to the economy and society.

– An independent Scotland, with full responsibility for immigration, will be able to support theneeds of Scottish businesses and help to address Scotland’s own demographic challenges.


Young travelers prefer to live in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK