Internal migration in Scotland and the UK: trends and policy lessons

This report by the independent Expert Advisory Group on Migration and Population analyses internal migration within Scotland, and between Scotland and the rest of the UK (rUK), assessing its geographic distribution, dynamics and impacts.

4. The Local Authority Perspective

As noted earlier in this report, challenges related to migration flows vary across Scotland. Whilst some areas, particularly on the West coast and in the Highlands and Islands, are challenged by shrinking populations, areas of the east coast and larger cities, especially Edinburgh and Aberdeen, have relatively buoyant populations and economies which can pull both labour and people away from surrounding areas. Local authorities in areas with decreasing populations are concerned both about demographic imbalance in their populations, in particular population ageing and growing dependency ratios, and about labour shortages in key sectors of the local economy. Those with large and growing populations are more concerned about potential strains on services and housing. In developing strategies and initiatives, either to attract new residents or to manage a growing local population, local authorities are motivated primarily by the need to ensure the sustainability of their communities, to protect local services and to provide adequate facilities to support the well-being of their residents.

Developing strategies to attract and retain a balanced population is challenging for local authorities, at least in part because of the number of areas of policy-making and implementation that such initiatives potentially cut across. Moreover, competence to make policy decisions and to allocate resource frequently lie at other levels of government: international migration policy is controlled by Westminster; housing, early years and education policies are made by the Scottish Government, but are often implemented locally and funded in large part from local authority budgets; initiatives to welcome new arrivals and support their social and cultural integration are most often developed and implemented at the local level.

In order to examine in more detail existing attempts to manage population movements at the local level, in preparing this report the EAG designed and distributed a questionnaire to all 32 Scottish local authorities, in September 2019. Eleven local authorities responded, and we have selected seven of the most detailed responses to develop as case studies below. In making our selection we have sought to incorporate insights from local authorities facing a variety of challenges and to include larger cities (Glasgow and Dundee), as well as authorities covering more rural and remote areas (Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross, Shetland).

Responses to the survey confirmed that Scottish Local Authorities have deep concerns about population issues in their areas. Whilst for a few, notably Edinburgh and the Lothians, concerns are focused on a large and growing population, for each of the remaining 9 local authorities responding to our survey labour shortages and demographic balance are the central focus. Many local authorities noted a combination of mutually reinforcing issues. For most west coast and predominantly rural areas, ageing of the local population is a key concern. As noted earlier in this report, this is exacerbated by the loss of younger, and especially more highly educated local residents, who are attracted away to larger towns and cities by opportunities for study, for better paid employment and by the more attractive leisure and night-time economies in such places. Ageing of the local population implies increasing demand on local services, especially in the health and social care sectors. But at the same time, out-migration creates labour shortages in key sectors ranging from tourism and agriculture, to education, care and health.

Some local authorities have developed and implemented initiatives to attract and retain people. However, the policy levers at their disposal are limited, particularly with regard to international migration. Thus, local authority campaigns and strategies are most often developed with a view to encouraging in-migration from other areas of Scotland, and rUK, rather than targeting international migration more specifically. Some local authorities have introduced measures and made investments with a view to incentivising moves into their area, however most recognise that in-migration, whether international or from other areas of the UK and Scotland can only be one factor alongside others in tackling their population concerns.

Survey responses also suggested that local authorities consider measures to retain the resident working age population as just as important as, or even more important than, measures to attract new migrants. Economic regeneration, and investment in employment opportunities, are seen as key to encouraging younger people to stay in local areas, whether they are locally born or originally from elsewhere. Thus for Perth & Kinross, and Glasgow City Council, policy initiatives focus largely on soft levers to support migrant populations in place, to extend a welcome and to promote integration and facilitate longer-term settlement. Other local authorities have approached population issues much more as an integral strand of wider economic, investment and regeneration strategies.

Nonetheless, a number of local authorities note the important role of international migration, and especially the presence of EU nationals, in mitigating potentially more acute sectoral shortages in recent years, and express concern regarding the potential impacts of Brexit and changes to the UK’s migration regime. As noted earlier in this report, if the UK immigration regime after the UK’s departure from the EU restricts international migration as currently envisaged, local authorities will become more reliant on attracting people from elsewhere within the UK or Scotland. In this scenario, a greater and more sophisticated degree of co-ordination will be required to avoid unhelpful competition between local authorities, potentially resulting in a zero-sum game to attract migrants from other areas of Scotland.

4.1 Local Migration Policies: Case Studies


Inverclyde council is part of a Depopulation/Population Taskforce consisting of council Leaders and Chief Executives from other local authority areas including Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire and working with CoSLA and Scottish Government to address issues of depopulation in the West Coast of Scotland. The area is faced with issues arising from a long-term decline in population, which has become more acute in recent years and is more severe, relative to other council areas. NRS projections suggest a further 3.8% decrease in the population by 2026, the second highest projected decrease in Scotland.[4] This is due to both negative natural change and negative net migration to the area, and is creating a downwards spiral of ageing of the local population, decreasing fertility rates, projected difficulties sustaining public services and undermining of the local economy which in turn discourages inward investment and in-migration.

Inverclyde faces a cycle of depopulation, further exacerbated by its positioning against national trends. The declining Inverclyde population, in tandem with a population increase Scotland-wide, means that Inverclyde’s share of funding from the Scottish Government is reducing annually. This puts more pressure on vital services, which in turn can have an impact on the attractiveness of the area to current and potential new residents.

Inverclyde has been less successful in attracting international migrants compared to other areas of Scotland (although there has been a recent increase). Of those moving into the area in 2017-18, 71% were from other areas within Scotland, 24% from rest of the UK and only 5% from overseas. Similarly those leaving the area have tended to go to other parts of Scotland (75%) or elsewhere in the UK (16%), with only 8% moving overseas[5]. The local authority has conducted some research itself which has pointed to a demographically disproportionate number of young people and young families leaving the area. In its survey response the local authority states that it is assumed on the basis of anecdotal evidence that those leaving the area are more likely to be highly skilled/educated.

Amongst the local authorities which responded to our survey, Inverclyde stood out as having taken a particularly proactive stance with regard to tackling population decline, viewing repopulation as an urgent strategic priority. In developing its strategy the local authority has commissioned research on locally-based population strategies looking at initiatives and projects elsewhere in the UK. The local authority reported that it has invested £1 million in initiatives over the period April 2014 – May 2015 to encourage people to move to and settle in Inverclyde, as part of an ‘Inverclyde Living’ campaign. In 2018/2019, the Inverclyde Alliance approved a new Population Action Plan, containing a range of measures aimed at promoting repopulation locally and funded via a £500,000 council investment.

The ‘Inverclyde Living’ campaign focused on a combination of soft levers, to advertise and promote Inverclyde as an attractive area, and specific financial incentives targeting business start-ups, young graduates, and homeowners. The campaign was launched, with the creation of a website and branding for the general promotion of Inverclyde throughout the wider central belt. There were additional grants made available for new start-up businesses coming into the area, as well as Graduate Grants to encourage local employers to employ young graduates from outside the area. For individuals, the campaign promoted and provided information about the area, and financial incentives were offered. Families, couples or individuals interested in moving to Inverclyde were offered relocation assistance, including tours of local amenities and services (e.g. schools, leisure facilities). Financial incentives were made up of two elements: (1) help with relocation costs where these were not covered by an employer and (2) a two-year reduction in council tax, in a bid to encourage not only relocation but longer-term stays. The initiative was thus targeted at homeowners rather than those entering the rental market. The local authority reported that this this focus was a way of encouraging moves by those more likely to ‘put down roots’.

The initiative, which ran between April 2014 and May 2015, was taken up by 45 home buyers, including 21 couples and 14 families, and as such was deemed successful in tackling some of the most acute depopulation issues at the time. Employment was not part of the eligibility criteria and only 64% of those taking up the offer were in employment with most of the remainder being of retirement age. The scheme was also most successful in attracting in-migration from nearby Scottish local authorities, with only 31% coming from further afield (15% from England; 7% from Ireland, 9% other). Retention rates are high, and follow-up research by the Council explained this as a result of people having been motivated more by their choice of new house, to be nearer to family, or to return the area after finishing their career elsewhere, than by financial incentives per se. This initiative has now ended although the overarching promotional message (that Inverclyde is a good place to live) is still ongoing via marketing activity.

The more recent Inverclyde Population Action Plan 2018/19 reflects the top priority in the area’s Local Outcomes Improvement Plan, namely that, “Inverclyde’s population will be stable and sustainable with an appropriate balance of socio - economic groups that is conducive to local economic prosperity and longer-term population growth”[6]. The plan includes a range of measures to improve marketing and communication, to grow the housing market, achieve growth in the private sector, to promote Inverclyde both to those who wish to live there and work elsewhere and to those who wish to live and work locally, to improve infrastructure, particularly transport links, and to brand Inverclyde as a centre for culture and leisure. Framed as the basis of a longer and wider economic strategy, the plan is very much focused on attracting new residents from other (neighbouring) areas of Scotland and stemming the flow of young people to such areas. It makes no mention of international migration as part of the strategy.

These initiatives, highlighted in the local authority’s response to our survey, illustrate well the challenges faced by local authorities in developing effective interventions. Both schemes have sought to encourage long-term moves of people into the area and highlight linkages between a generalised need for population and wider economic development issues. They are relatively blunt tools, however, which are not designed to meet particular sectoral shortages or to match skills to local employment needs. They are not concerned with the provenance of new residents, and as a result are most effective in supporting moves from neighbouring Scottish local authority areas, many of which might have happened anyway. Local authorities with similar population needs then potentially end up competing with each other for residents.

Argyll & Bute

Argyll and Bute faces many similar issues to Inverclyde, and is also part of the Depopulation/Population Taskforce. Like Inverclyde, Argyll and Bute local authority faces pressing population issues in relation to both sectoral shortages and population ageing and decline. Negative natural population change is compounded by accelerated ageing as young people leave in higher numbers, whilst the area remains a popular retirement destination for people from more urban areas of Scotland and rUK. In the current period the local authority reports significant skills gaps and unfilled vacancies in areas such as health and social care, where demand is increasing as the population changes. In January 2019 the local authority commissioned a Tourism and Food and Drink Industries Workforce Survey, which identified ‘specific skills shortages in skilled technical and skilled operational positions across these key growth sectors for the area’.[7]

The local authority has commissioned research to explore the ways in which population change is impacting on the workforce and to identify key challenges in this regard. In 2019 Argyll and Bute local authority, in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, commissioned work to pull together a Cross-sectoral and Occupational Workforce Plan with input from other key partners and industry to focus on workforce challenges now and how these may change, grow or subside in the future. Once finalised, this piece of work should provide an updated position with regard to the findings of the ‘Compelling Argyll and Bute’ report in 2015.[8] Insights from commissioned research were fed into local authority strategies and initiatives to tackle population issues. The local authority views population issues as embedded within a wider economic and workforce strategy, and as linked to concerns around skills gaps and sustainable employment, as well as a need for more key worker housing, and higher paying jobs. The overall strategic vision of Argyll and Bute Community Improvement Plan is that “economic success is built on a growing population”.

The Rural Resettlement Fund (2016-18) was instituted to encourage people and businesses to relocate to the area.[9] Similar to the Inverclyde Living campaign, this bespoke local fund offered financial assistance with relocation costs to individuals (either employed or self-employed) and to existing businesses. Grants of £5-10k included an incentive to stay longer-term as 25% of the sum awarded was retained by the council until people had lived in Argyll and Bute for over a year. The scheme brought 196 new residents to the area, including 55 children, mainly from other parts of Scotland and from England. At around the same time the Council agreed to welcome 15 Syrian families as part of the resettlement scheme and framed this also as a response to concerns about ongoing population decline. These efforts notwithstanding, the area saw a new drop in population in the year to June 2018.[10]

The local authority has now closed the Rural Resettlement Fund scheme using any remaining funds of the ring-fenced £500k as match funding for a new Rural Growth Deal proposal to Scottish and UK governments for transformational investment in the area. In its 2019-2023 Economic strategy, the local authority reiterated its commitment to building “new schools, building hundreds of new affordable homes, supporting the growth of businesses, attracting significant external capital funding to improve critical infrastructure, improving peoples’ skills for work, investing in roads, supporting a host of community regeneration projects, providing grants to help people to move to Argyll and improving built environment through area regeneration initiatives.”[11]

The decision to close the Rural Resettlement Fund in 2019 following a review of the scheme’s outcomes, as well as closer collaboration with other local authorities and Scottish government through the Depopulation/Population Taskforce, appear to signal an assessment, that population issues cannot be tackled at the local level alone. Policies addressing the strategic importance of the rural economy are required alongside migration initiatives and incentives. As such, the overarching goal under the local authority’s rural growth deal skills proposals is growth in the working age population coupled with sustainable employment opportunities. This example highlights the close ties between population issues and wider economic concerns and a need for greater co-ordination and joined-up policy thinking at national as well as local level is highlighted.

Perth & Kinross

Population challenges for Perth and Kinross are somewhat different to the previous two case studies. Labour and skills shortages in particular economic sectors are the central issue rather than wider issues of population ageing and decline, which dominate on the West Coast. International migration, most significantly (but not only) from the EU has played a clearer role in mitigating these shortages in the recent past, and the council has more specific concerns regarding the potential impacts of the end of free movement and introduction of the new immigration regime, which is seen as a potential threat to both labour supply and business continuity. The council reports a heavy reliance on migrant workers (including resident EU workers) in key sectors of the local economy. The most affected sectors are agriculture, food and drink, hospitality, and care.

Unlike the other local authorities discussed above, Perth and Kinross council has been closely monitoring the potential impacts of Brexit on international migration to and from the area. The Council’s most recent Economic Journal Briefing reports a 12% decline in overall international migration to the area between March 2018 and March 2019 and a 14.4% drop in migration to the area from EU countries.[12] The latter is particularly significant in terms of seasonal migration to the agricultural sector. The local authority monitors national insurance number (NINO)registrations to adult overseas individuals as a proxy for short-term international migration and has found 65.7% of the current cohort are Romanian, Bulgarian or Polish. On the other hand, the local authority notes that the care sector in particular has recruited from both the EU and beyond and that this migration has been instrumental in addressing the issues associated with an ageing population. Overall, net migration to the area (including international migration and moves within Scotland/rUK) has fallen from 1,260 per annum in 2014-15, to 660 per annum in 2017-18[13]. Since the decline has been most marked in the period 2016-18 it is likely also to reflect the fall in international migration noted above. However, the largely rural composition of the area also creates challenges with regard to retention of skills and of the younger working age population. Larger university cities and population centres nearby offer more in terms of education, jobs, housing and lifestyle opportunities, attracting younger residents in particular to move away.

Against this background, the Council took part in the COSLA Migration Matters Scotland (MMS) Project, a 19-month pilot scheme, co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals. This included the development of a searchable database of Scotland-focused resources on migration, and studies on the experiences of and challenges facing migrant groups in Scotland covering the themes of housing, employment, health and leisure, social connections, and education. Findings from the project provided an opportunity to gain insight into views on service provision from both local authority and migrant perspectives. By highlighting areas of success and good practice and potential future development, it was hoped that the pilot work would serve as a platform for the ongoing, positive development of diverse communities across Scotland.

Perth and Kinross Council Equalities Team has undertaken a number of initiatives to ensure new migrant communities are made to feel safe and welcome, in partnership with third sector colleagues. These have included booklets with key information translated into other languages where necessary, and information roadshows and events in particular geographic areas or with local employers. More recently Perth and Kinross Council has been actively working with partner organisations and employers to promote the EU Settlement Scheme, and provides regularly updated information and advice for EU citizens and local businesses.[14]


Shetland exemplifies the challenges faced in very remote areas of Scotland, even despite ongoing local initiatives. Aside from the population issues it shares with other regions mentioned in this report, such as an ageing population, the cost of living is 20-60% higher than the UK average, which (in tandem with its remoteness) may make it less attractive to both skilled and unskilled workers open to relocating. A high rate of young people leaving the islands means that the demographic balance is shifting towards an older population at a faster rate than in the rest of Scotland, and in December 2018 the Director of Development Services at Shetland Council noted that the region needed to attract 1,500 new young people in the following decade merely to balance the demographic profile with the Scottish average.[15]

After a period of population increase in the early 1990s, followed by a decline in the period 1996-2001, a gradual increase in the period 2001-2011, and stability from 2011-2016, Shetland began to see population decline again in 2016, especially in the working-age population[16]. The local authority reported in response to our survey that the needs of employers are a key concern, and that local businesses and other employers are struggling to fill positions given the region’s low level of unemployment. The 2017 Shetland Employment Survey found that 20% of respondents had failed to fill vacancies. Both highly-skilled, professional jobs and more manual or clerical positions are affected: attracting key workers for the NHS is a perennial problem, but sectors such as construction and manufacturing also face acute shortages. Some working age people are employed in more than one job to meet the constant demand for workers. Shetland Council notes that there has been some success with targeted recruitment projects to address skills gaps. However, recent media coverage suggests that sectors such as education are facing increasing problems with recruitment, and an ageing workforce is also causing long-term staffing issues for NHS Shetland. [17]

A dependence on migrant labour is particularly pronounced in the fishing industry, which dominates the local economy: for example, 20% of employees at the largest salmon farmer in the islands are EU nationals.[18] Seasonal jobs, which can double the workforce at busy times, have also chiefly been taken up by EU workers over the past two decades. The percentage of people born in EU countries living on the islands has risen from 0.8% in 2001, to 2.3% in recent years.[19] The local authority sees a link between seasonal employment opportunities and longer-term settlement as a way of tacking more generalised issues of population decline and ageing, and is keen to continue to attract foreign workers both to work seasonally and to settle longer-term on the islands. In response to our survey the local authority stated that their goal is to ensure that current EU residents in Shetland be granted settled status.

Shetland’s Economic Development Strategy 2018-22 notes that “migration is essential for continued economic development and growing [the] working age population is a central aim of the Shetland Partnership”.[20] It highlights the significance of migration to maintaining Shetland’s society and economy. The local authority notes the marked variation in migration rates within Scotland and has expressed concerns that migration policy goals, whether determined by Holyrood or Westminster, should reflect the specific needs of local areas. In developing policy responses, the local authority has been keen to learn from international experience and would welcome greater decentralisation of (certain aspects of) migration policy to the Scottish or indeed the local authority level. The approach taken by the Åland Islands of Finland, a semi-autonomous region, is seen as having particular resonance for Shetland. This region offers EU-supported regional citizenship to those who meet certain criteria aimed at preserving the area’s Swedish language and customs, and debate is ongoing about removing a requirement for Finnish citizenship to be held or acquired before one may be a citizen of the Åland Islands. A main point of resonance seems to be the high level of migration to the area, particularly from the Baltic states and other former state socialist countries, partly as a result of the strong local economy. The Åland Islands have implemented their own Integration Act (2013) and promote immigration and return of students via measures such as campaigns, paid internships and international jobs fairs.[21]

In seeking to tackle its population concerns, the local authority has launched a number of policy initiatives and has established a working group on retention which reports to the Community Planning Partnership. The key measure of this group thus far has been ‘Promote Shetland’,[22] a destination marketing service which aims to build a strong place brand and positive reputation via highlighting cultural events, the area’s wildlife and nature, and what life is like for Shetlanders. Shetland Council note that it is difficult to measure the impact of this policy, as it has run for only two years so far. The local community planning partnership’s 2018-28 Ten Year Plan[23] includes attracting and retaining more people as a key priority for the achievement of sustainable economic growth. However, specific proposed measures are mainly limited to promoting the region as an attractive place to live, work, study and invest. The local authority recognises future challenges in relation to gaining the “right mix” of jobs, housing, transport and access to childcare and support networks to meet family needs. Like other local authorities, Shetland’s initiatives, given the current available policy levers and levels of co-ordination, focus on soft levers and are limited in reach, scope and effectiveness. The council sees a clear link between migration and wider issues of economic growth and investment.


In contrast to the local authorities above, policy in Midlothian focuses on ensuring sufficient service provision for an expected high increase in population over the next six years. Furthermore, an ageing population is of less concern in this local authority, as there is projected to be a growth in the 0-15 and 30-59 age groups. This has created different issues around population, chiefly centring on increasing demand for housing and services.

Population growth in Midlothian is linked above all to the growth in the Edinburgh travel to work area, which in turn is seen as resulting from the South East Scotland Development Plan’s stress on housing growth in recent years. The region has thus benefited from being part of strategic development planning for Edinburgh City and the surrounding region.[24] The local authority is also seeking to maximise the impact of four new railway stations on the Borders Railway, including building a new town at Shawfair.[25]

However, such rapid population growth brings its own challenges. While the Scottish Government has directed more funds to meet the projected demand for housing in Midlothian and other parts of the South East Scotland region, the local authority draws attention to a social housing waiting list of over 4,000 applicants. Recent policy has focused on improving the quality of social housing available, and the Council’s Strategic Housing Investment Plan for 2019/20 to 2023/24 states that it is committed to building 1,000 new council houses by March 2022, and requires 25% of any new private development to be affordable housing.

In addition to housing provision, the most recent Single Midlothian Plans (2018/19 and 2019/20)[26] consider other population concerns such as short-term healthcare, care provision, community safety, regional quality of life, and opportunity for citizens of Midlothian. Issues such as early years provision (the Learning Estate strategy aims to address the growing demand for nurseries and schools) and community safety are also highlighted in these documents. In its response to the EAG survey, the local authority noted how challenging it was to integrate new and settled communities and provide basic services under financial strain, in a national environment of local authority austerity. This may become a significant issue in other local authorities as competing priorities put pressure on population strategy spending.


Dundee City’s population is affected by both national population trends – such as a projected growth in the 65+ age categories – and on a more local level by the fact that it is a university town with a significant student population. Compared to the Scottish average, Dundee has a larger percentage of people in the 18-30 and 85+ age brackets. Although its population is stable, NRS projections for 2016-2026 indicate a decrease in the age groups 16-24 and 45-65, as well as increases in the age groups 0-15, 25-44 and 65+[27]. This issue may have implications for future dependency rations, however it is not currently emphasised in the city plan.[28]

The council highlights encouraging sustainable businesses in the city via targeted investment as the chief policy in relation to their population strategy. Other policies related to this have been urban regeneration, house building and overall development of the city in recent years. There is a local emphasis on the city centre as a desirable place to live, and recent population increases have been greeted positively and seen as a result of general investment.[29]

Like other areas of Scotland, Dundee City is addressing challenges related to an ageing population, chiefly via health and social care and local community plans. The local authority response to the EAG survey makes mention of increased customer expectations and complex needs which require more personalised approaches. These in turn drive an increased demand for labour in the care sector.

Net migration to Dundee has fluctuated in recent years. Net migration to the city has been positive for all but one (2013-14)of the last 10 years on record. Net international migration has been positive throughout although it has also fluctuated from a high of 1580 in 2010-11, to a more modest 570 in 2017-18. However, migration between Dundee and other areas of Scotland has been consistently negative over the period 2008-2018. Dundee City Council also compares the figure of graduate retention of 26% in Dundee unfavourably to that of 46% in Glasgow City. The local authority and its community planning partners prioritise retaining and attracting “talent” through inward investment and the growth of key sectors (i.e. knowledge industries such as life sciences and digital). Their survey response states that they are currently prioritising “young and economically active people [who can] provide a flexible supply of labour”.


Glasgow City Council was the only local authority amongst those which responded to the EAG survey to foreground international migration as part of an ongoing population strategy. Projected population growth is slow and the city centre population is low compared to other UK/EU cities.[30] Glasgow’s Economic Strategy 2016-2021 identifies population increase as a key challenge and pre-requisite for achieving inclusive economic growth. The Strategy highlights a number of sub-issues related to international migration, such as the role of post-study work visas, and the importance of lobbying for Glasgow’s interests with the Scottish and UK Governments (particularly with regard to ‘passporting’ for financial services, or to freedom of movement). The integration of migrants and newcomers is a key priority for the Glasgow Inclusive Cities scheme – Phase 2,[31] and migration is viewed as feeding into inclusive growth and skills shortages.

The Inclusive Cities Officers group, led by the Economic Development division at Glasgow City Council, is tasked with identifying the main challenges for the city in relation to population. An initial list of challenges and issues which merit further exploration includes:

  • Understanding the implications of an ageing population in terms of available labour supply, both for Glasgow and surrounding local authorities (e.g. in terms of commuter flows);
  • Identifying the industrial sectors that have a large presence of overseas migrants;
  • Assessing the relative volumes of overseas migrants in Glasgow that are in employment, and overseas migrants in Glasgow for reasons of higher education;
  • Analysing how the reduction in the number of births in Glasgow has been offset by patterns of net migration.

In terms of ongoing strategy and policies, the city’s Economic Strategy highlights a desire to work with the Scottish and UK Governments through the Brexit/post-Brexit period to ensure that visa policies enable the retention of “talent” and grow the regional economy[32]. A new International Strategy is being developed, with attendant research into how Glasgow can attract more international communities and celebrate local international communities, as well as how Glasgow can be best promoted as a diverse business location.

Glasgow City Council is engaging with and supporting several schemes to welcome and support the longer-term settlement of migrants and refugees and aiming to contribute more generally to community integration. For example, the local authority’s BME Democratic Engagement Paper mentions schemes such as ‘Sharing Lives, Sharing Languages’; a ‘Communities Refugee Advisory Group’; and ‘Speak Out About Racism’.

Glasgow’s rather unique positioning as a larger, university city, with a significant history of labour migration from different parts of the world and over 20 years’ experience of refugee settlement, sets it apart from the other local authorities discussed above. The city has a clear view of migration as integral to its economic development strategy, yet, in some ways shares similar dilemmas to other local authorities in needing clearer policy frameworks for collaborating with Scottish and UK governments to meet its migration and population goals as a city. At the local level, initiatives focus on welcoming and celebrating diversity and ensuring equalities standards are met.



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