A “sizeable” number of Scots remain concerned about the scale of EU immigration
1 OCTOBER 2016 • 6:00AM
Large numbers of Scots agree that Eastern European immigration take jobs away from their countrymen, according to official research published as the SNP pressed Theresa May to continue allowing free movement after Brexit.
The Scottish Social Attitudes Survey found around a third of the country believes that immigration from Poland and other Eastern European countries reduces employment opportunities for “other people in Scotland.”
Although the proportion has dropped slightly since 2010, when unemployment was much higher in the wake of the financial crisis, the survey said it had merely returned to 2006 levels and a “sizeable proportion” of the population remains concerned about the impact of immigration on the labour market.
The percentage of people who agreed that people from outside Britain who come to live in Scotland make the country a better place increased seven points but remained well below half, at 40 per cent.
In another startling finding, 78 per cent said a Scottish joiner should be free to employ a friend without advertising the vacant job compared to only 57 per cent who said the same about a Polish hotel owner in Scotland wanting to employ a Polish cleaner.
This meant that twice as many people (43 per cent) felt that the Polish hotel owner should advertise the job so that anyone could apply than felt that the joiner should have to do the same (22 per cent)
The results of the survey came as the SNP argued that free movement should continue after Brexit because the NHS depends on staff from other EU countries. However, the Tories said the findings showed that swathes of the country remained highly sceptical of the benefits of immigration.
All parties welcomed the survey’s results showing Scots have become increasingly tolerant of homosexuality and same-sex relationships. The proportion of respondents who agreed there was sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced fell six points to 22 per cent.
But almost two-thirds (65 per cent) thought that an employer should be able to insist that a Muslim woman remove her veil while at work. Only 20 per cent said the same of a Sikh man wearing a turban and 15 per cent of a Christian woman wearing a crucifix.
The detailed survey measured attitudes in 2015, before the EU referendum in which 62 per cent of Scots voted to Remain and 38 per cent to Leave.
Official figures for 2014/15 showed that 19,600 more people moved to Scotland from abroad than went in the other direction, which is high by historical standards but lower than some other parts of the UK.
The SNP today highlighted official figures showing 6.7 per cent of Scotland’s doctors come from EU member states other than the UK andreiterated its demand that the Prime Minister offer assurances that EU citizens will not be forced to leave after Brexit.
Clare Haughey, an SNP backbencher, said: “The Tory government must reassure all those who choose to make Scotland and the UK their home that they are welcome to live here, that their contributions are valued by all of us and vital for our country, especially for public services such as our NHS.”
Jackson Carlaw, the Scottish Tory Shadow Culture Minister, said: “These figures and the EU referendum campaign showed that there are many people in Scotland who are still wary of people coming from abroad and impacting the jobs market.
“It shows that more needs to be done to emphasize the positive contribution that those coming here from across Europe make not only to our economy, but also to our culture.”
Tags: Brexit, Britain, Eastern European countries, Eastern European immigration, EU, EU referendum, free movement should continue after Brexit because the NHS depends on staff from other EU countries, Jackson Carlaw, labour market, migrants, migrants taking jobs, Nicola Sturgeon, poland, refugees, Scotland, Scottish, Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, Scottish Tory Shadow Culture Minister, Theresa May, UK