EU migrants contribution to the economy analysis: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/02710
Date received: 9 November 2017
Date responded: 24 November 2017

Information requested

Data on which Scottish Government analysis about EU migrants contribution to Scotland economy is based.


In order to calculate the contribution of EU migrants to Scotland economy we simulate the impact of an increase in the number of workers equivalent to the estimated number of new EU migrants entering the Scottish labour market for one year.

To calculate the number of EU migrants working in Scotland, we used data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Annual Population Survey. We apply the same definition of UK national, non-UK EU nationals and other non-EU nationals as used in ONS publications. For example, see table 3 in the link below:

The number of estimated employed EU citizens in Scotland between 2007 and 2016 is the following:

Year EU Nationals employed
2007 51,300
2008 65,100
2009 69,600
2010 80,800
2011 86,900
2012 86,500
2013 97,600
2014 107,400
2015 115,700
2016 128,400

The number of employed EU citizens in Scotland for the period 2007 – 2016 was used to calculate the trend of EU migrants entering the Scottish labour market. Using an Ordinary Least Square regression model, this was equal to 7,800 EU citizens per year.

The Scottish Government Computable General Equilibrium model was used to model the contribution of EU migrants to the Scotland economy. A description of the model can be found in the following link:

The Computable General Equilibrium model calculated that on average each additional EU citizen working in Scotland contributes an additional £34,400 in Gross Domestic Product. As there are approximately 128,400 EU citizens employed in Scotland, our analysis implies that the total contribution by EU citizens working in Scotland is approximately £4.42 billion per year.

More information about the methodology behind these calculations can be found in page 43-45 of the following publications 'The Contribution of EEA Citizens to Scotland: the Scottish Government's Response to the Migration Advisory Committee Call for Evidence on the Role of EEA Workers in the UK Labour Market - Evidence Annex'. Please find the link to the publication here:

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