198,000 non-UK nationals working in Scotland

Statistical News Release

Non-UK nationals account for 7.5 per cent of total employment in Scotland. There are 21,000 fewer non-UK nationals working in Scotland compared with 2017, the first time that there has been a decrease since 2013.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published statistics on non-UK nationals in Scotland’s workforce. This publication provides estimates of the number of non-UK nationals who live and work in Scotland, the industries and occupations in which they work and the areas of Scotland in which they live.

Statistics from the Annual Population Survey 2018 show:

The employment rate (16-64 years) for EU nationals in 2018 was 81.2 per cent, increasing by 0.4 percentage points over the year and higher than at any time since 2007. The rate is also higher than for UK nationals (74.5 per cent) and non- EU nationals (50.0 per cent)

  • In the last year the number of EU nationals in employment in Scotland has fallen, from 153,000 in 2017 to 141,000 in 2018, a 7.6 per cent decrease. 2018 is the first year in the series since 2007 (the series start) that the number of EU nationals in employment has fallen
  • Nearly two-thirds of all EU nationals in employment in Scotland worked in the distribution, hotels and restaurants, Public administration, education and health and banking, finance and insurance industry sectors. For non-EU nationals, the proportion was even higher with nearly three-quarters of total employment concentrated in these three sectors
  • More than 1 in 5 EU nationals in employment in Scotland work in the food and drink and tourism growth sectors - 11,000 work in food and drink (14.0 per cent of all employment in the sector) and 21,000 work in tourism (11.5 per cent of all employment in the sector)
  • Over half of all EU nationals in employment reside within Scotland’s 3 largest city local authorities; City of Edinburgh, Glasgow City and Aberdeen City


About the publication

The APS is an annual version of the LFS and the official source of many labour market indicators for Scotland. The publication presents key statistics relating to the economic status of migrant workers, from within the European Union (EU) and from outside the EU, who are resident in Scotland. The APS estimates the stock of UK, EU and non-EU nationals living in Scotland based on self-reported nationality. Industry of employment and occupational skill level are also self-reported.

The data in this publication covers the calendar year, January to December 2018.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.



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