Scotland needs immigration – but it’s no sliver bullet, says public policy expert
Former government adviser says Scotland must learn from the successes and failures of other countries
Reform Scotland, the independent non-partisan think tank, has today published a detailed report – Entry Points: Making a Success of Immigration to Scotland – by international public policy expert Heather McCauley on what Scotland can learn from the experiences and policies of other countries.
There is broad political support at Holyrood for greater levels of immigration to Scotland. Without it, Scotland’s working-age population is projected to decline over the next 25 years, while the number of Scots in the 65-74 age group is expected to increase by 17 per cent, and those aged 75 and above by 79 per cent. Scotland also has the lowest fertility rate in the UK. This would mean a smaller proportion of working people funding the expanding costs and care of a rapidly-ageing population.
In Entry Points, produced in partnership with the Scottish Policy Foundation, Ms McCauley – who has worked as a senior civil servant for the Scottish government and been an advisor to two prime ministers of New Zealand – examines the role immigrants might play in tackling this looming crisis. She also explores the experiences – good and bad – of migrant-receiving countries such as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the US, and looks at the lessons a post-Brexit Scotland should draw.
McCauley has concluded that global immigration programmes have, on balance, been beneficial, but that the size of these benefits is often small. She warns that well-designed and well-managed immigration policy is essential to managing economic, demographic and cultural change. Immigration is no silver bullet, she says – there must also be a focus on retaining and upskilling the existing population.
The full report can be downloaded below.