The contribution of EEA citizens to Scotland: response to the Migration Advisory Committee call for evidence - evidence annex

The Evidence Annex sets out the main elements of the most robust date we have on migrants and migration in Scotland.


This paper (evidence annex) has been prepared by Scottish Government analysts to set out the main elements of the most robust data we have on migration and migrants in Scotland. The paper supports the Scottish Government's response to the call for evidence by the UK Migration Advisory Committee on the economic and social impacts of the UK's exit from the European Union, and on how the UK's immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.

The introductory section sets the context for the evidence base on migration into Scotland, followed by a glossary of the data sources, terms and definitions used throughout the evidence annex. The three chapters then respond to the themes identified in the MAC call for evidence.

  • Chapter One: Migration Trends (trends in Scotland's population compared to the UK; migration trends; age of migrants; regional variations in components of population change; migration flows; overview of migration trends; regional variations in the number of non- UK and EU nationals across the UK; projected changes in Scotland's population; impact of lower migration on Scotland's population growth).
  • Chapter Two: EU Workers in Scotland's Key Sectors (economic activity; skills and occupations).
  • Chapter Three: Economic, Social and Fiscal Impacts (migration and economic growth; migrant characteristics; migrants' impact on public services; integration and culture).

State of the evidence landscape

Evidence on the impact of migration into Scotland and the lived experience of Scotland's migrants has been strengthened in recent years, with particular emphasis on Scotland's labour market and on key populations. Systematic data and analysis on migrants' use of and requirements for public services in Scotland are still limited, although individual studies are addressing key evidence gaps, building on better understanding of the social characteristics of migrants (such as age and family structure). We anticipate that work will be required to enhance the precision of data, using key classifications (for example between 'citizens' and 'nationals'), in order to allow Governments and delivery agencies to assess current entitlements and contributions, anticipate impacts and plan policy adjustments. Improvements in data will enhance the evidence base, and support further evaluation and learning. We welcome investment by funding bodies such as the Economic Social Research Council into research and analysis on migration, and seek to collaborate with such endeavours to enhance our Scottish evidence base.

Macroeconomic modelling has been undertaken to investigate the contribution of EU migrants, in particular, to the Scottish economy, and it will be necessary to continue with such analysis in the future. However, much of the information on population and the labour market is based on survey sources and, as such, is subject to the limitations associated with survey data (see below).

There is a clear requirement to continue to invest in evidence to understand the potential impacts of any changes related to migration experiences, practices or outcomes, particularly in relation to Scotland's specific circumstances.

Sources and Definitions

Key sources

Annual Population Survey/Labour Force Survey

The Annual Population Survey ( APS) is the largest survey of private households in the UK. It is carried out by the Office for National Statistics ( ONS) on behalf of the Scottish Government ( SG). APS provides boosted Labour Force Survey ( LFS) data with the core purpose of providing information on the labour market. Migrant workers can be classified by both country of birth and nationality. The APS data on migrants included in this annex relates to the 2016 calendar year (Jan-Dec, released August 2017). The APS is updated on a rolling annual basis and can be used to measure the stock (resident population) of international migrants living in Scotland.

The APS has some margin of error and certain limitations, as it is a survey of private households and therefore excludes multi-occupancy accommodation where many migrants live while saving or sending money to their country of origin.


The Census provides official estimates covering every person and household in Scotland, and is updated every 10 years. The most recent Census data relate to 2011, and provide information on the stock (resident population) of migrants at the time data were collected.

The Census provides detailed statistics on the characteristics of Scotland's population across a range of topic areas, including information on labour market participation, country of birth (to classify migrant workers) and year of arrival in the UK. The Census 2011 did not ask a question about nationality, therefore it is not possible to ascertain whether or not non- UK born migrants are British citizens.

International Passenger Survey

The International Passenger Survey ( IPS) is a continuous survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics ( ONS). It covers all major air, sea and tunnel ports, providing detailed information on the numbers and types of visits made by people travelling to and from the UK. The IPS measures the flow (movement) of international migrants into and out of the UK/Scotland.

Mid-Year Population Estimates

The mid-year population estimates ( MYE) provide the latest annual estimates of the usually resident population, including the main components of population change - natural change (births minus deaths) and net migration (the difference between long-term moves into and out of the UK or local areas).

National Population Projections

The National Population Projections ( NPP) provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population based on mid-year population estimates and a set of assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration. The national projections are available at Scotland level, UK level and for the other constituent countries. The NPP data included in this annex uses the latest 2016-based national projections.

Sub-National Population Projections

The sub-national population projections ( SNPP) are available for areas within Scotland (council areas, health boards) and give an indication of future trends in population by age and sex based on a set of assumptions of future fertility, mortality and migration. The SNPP data included in this annex uses the latest 2014-based sub-national projections.

Key definitions

Nationality. A 'migrant' may be defined as 'foreign national' using data from the LFS and the APS. 'Foreign national' is also the definition of migrant used in data obtained from National Insurance Number ( NINo) applications. Nationality may change and, if self-reported, may be interpreted as describing an elective affinity dependent on social and cultural factors rather than legal status [1] .

Citizenship. This is defined as the nationality of the passport which the migrant is carrying.

Country of birth. This refers to the country that a person was born in and cannot change. However, many people have a different nationality or citizenship to their country of birth. Many migrants born outside the UK are British citizens, and thus would not count as migrants if defined by nationality [2] .

This evidence annex presents information by migrant nationality where this is available, because nationality is most likely to be the basis on which future changes to movement rights will apply. Data relating to country of birth are used when reporting findings from the 2011 Census.

Migrant population: nationality and country of birth. Analysis of APS data by Scottish Government compared the number of EU-born with the number of EU nationals (from published population counts by country of birth and nationality) to examine the differences associated with the different definition.

In 2016, the differences were small; the number of EU country of birth migrants residing in Scotland being around 4.1% higher than the number of EU nationals residing in Scotland. In 2016, there were 209,000 EU Nationals in Scotland compared with 218,000 migrants with EU country of birth.

However, for the UK as a whole, the number of EU nationals exceeds EU country of birth. The number with EU country of birth residing in the UK is 1.8% lower than the number of EU nationals residing in the UK.


Throughout this document, countries and groups of countries are referenced depending on the context and source of data.

European Union ( EU). All countries of the EU (other than the UK) at the time data were collected.

Non- UK EU. In relation to Scotland, this refers to migrants from outside the rest of the UK, including the Republic of Ireland.

Non-British. Non-British nationality.

EU14. The countries of the EU, other than the UK, as constituted between 1 January 1995 and 1 May 2004 (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden).

EU8. The eight Central and Eastern European countries that acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia).

EU2. The two countries that acceded to the EU on 1 January 2007 (Bulgaria and Romania).

EU Other. Cyrus and Malta (acceded to the EU on 1 May 2004) and Croatia (from 1 July 2013 when Croatia joined the EU).

EU-ROI/Republic of Ireland/Irish Republic. ROI citizens are included with non- UK EU citizens in our evidence, but separate additional analysis for ROI citizens is provided where possible.

Non- EU. The countries not in the UK or in the EU as defined above.

EEA. The 27 EU Member States (excluding the UK) and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway [3] .

Non- EEA. The countries not in the UK or in the EEA as defined above.

United Kingdom ( UK). England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Britain. England, Scotland and Wales.

UK-born. Includes Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Channel Islands (not otherwise specified).

British-born. Includes the above and, additionally, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena and the Turks and Caicos Islands.


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