EU nationals working in Scotland contribute £34,400 to GDP – Government

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EU nationals working in Scotland contribute an average of £34,400 to GDP, according to new analysis from the Scottish Government.

The figure is included in the government’s submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, which has been commissioned by the UK Government to advise on the economic and social impacts of Brexit.

Europe Minister Alasdair Allan said the analysis demonstrated the “huge economic benefits” that workers from the EU bring to Scotland.

There were 128,000 EU nationals working in Scotland last year, according to the government’s evidence.

It found that EU migrants have a positive effect on the Scottish economy, with each contributing an additional £34,400 to GDP per year, totalling around £4.42 billion.

More than a quarter of these workers were employed in the hotel and restaurant sector, while just over a fifth worked in public admin, health and education.

Just under one fifth were employed in finance and business services.

Official figures have projected a growing and ageing population over the next 25 years, with all of the projected increase over the next decade due to come from migration.

Scottish ministers have called for the freedom of movement of EU workers to be retained after Brexit, and have pressed for immigration policy to be devolved to Holyrood.

Mr Allan said: “As these new figures confirm, workers from other EU countries bring huge economic benefits to Scotland. These findings are in line with previous research which support that migration positively impacts regional economies.

“Businesses big and small, the agriculture sector, financial services companies and our NHS are concerned about no longer being able to employ them.

“The health sector could be hit hard. Currently, EU citizens are filling hard-to-fill specialisms and areas of acute shortages.

“Ominously, recent figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirm that since the referendum, the number of EU nurses and midwives registering to work in the UK is declining.

“EU citizens and their families also make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live, including in remote and rural areas.

“That is why we believe fundamentally that continuing free movement of people is in the best interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole.”

Scottish Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “These figures show the huge benefits that EU migrants bring to our country and why their futures here should be made certain.”

He added: “Labour would do the right thing and guarantee the rights of EU nationals to live and work in the UK. As well as being economically wise, it is also simply the right thing to do.”