Scotland’s Immigration Phenomenon and Insights into Integration

Mari Lehva and Gaia Croston Research Briefings

The literature regarding migration to Scotland provides insights into topics of migrants’ cultural interaction and integration; however, there is a need for further research into voluntary migrant populations and how to increase their integration into Scottish society at the individual, local and national levels.
Immigration, Migration, Integration, National Identity
Key Points
  • The immigration phenomenon in Scotland is complex as migrant data is hard to isolate, the national and subnational governments struggle over devolved powers and integration is not a straightforward process.
  • Scotland is experiencing diverse streams of migration, including voluntary as well as forced migrants; this diversity is mirrored by a research focus on topics of national identity, cultural change and ethnicity in Scotland.
  • Anti-immigration sentiment and inhospitable policy approaches to integration are seemingly less common in Scotland, but still “defensive ethnic nationalism” occurs and it can be difficult for nonwhite migrants in particular to feel welcome.
  • Integration is an interscalar process that is everyone’s responsibility – we understand some factors that encourage migrants’ integration such as access to education, but have much to learn about dynamics that support integration and interventions that can help migrants feel welcome in their destination country.