Concern over 21,000 drop in overseas workers

The number of overseas workers in Scotland has fallen for the first time in five years, statistics from the Annual Population Survey 2018 have revealed.

In 2018, about 198,000 workers in Scotland came from non-UK nations, a drop of 21,000 on the previous year.

The figures also showed a fall in the number of European citizens working in Scotland.

There was a drop in EU nationals of 7.6%, falling from 153,000 in 2017 to 141,000 last year.

Since 2007, the number of non-UK nationals in employment in Scotland has increased by 99,000 — with 91.2% of this increase due to EU nationals. 

External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said last year’s fall in overseas workers was “extremely concerning”.

She said: “All of Scotland’s population growth over the next 25 years – including our working-age population – is projected to come from migration.

“A fall in the number of non-UK nationals working in Scotland is extremely concerning and illustrates the significant demographic challenges that we are facing …

“Valuable contributions are made to our economy, public services and society by people from all over the world who choose to make Scotland their home.

“However, our future prosperity is under threat due to the UK Government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies and their determination to end freedom of movement.”