Go to Perth and you’ll find a long-standing connection with Poland, extending to the Polish War Graves in one of the major cemeteries. The Poles, famously, came to Britain during the war to fight for the allies, and many were based around Perth.
Similarly, the west coast of Scotland has many Italians, again, often as a result of the war. No-one in either Perth or Glasgow has had any problem with these immigrants.
Yet an article in the Economist magazine earlier this year, whilst conforming this, and indeed also noting that the Scots are not as anti-immigration as the English and Welsh, raises some interesting points. A study by the Migration Observatory (which is part of the University of Oxford), says only 58% of the Scottish people want fewer immigrants, compared to 75% in England and Wales. Another survey, by IPOS Mori, says just 21% of Scots regard immigration as one of the most important issues they face, far lower than the 33% UK average.
The Economist warns that Scotland is like London in that both areas are relatively relaxed about immigration. This is because there is relatively little immigration in Scotland and a lot in London, and in these polar opposite circumstances the local population tend not to be too upset about the few/many foreign people in their midst. It’s the ‘difficult’ middle ground, where there are problems, as witnessed in many of the English regions.
What would happen if Scotland votes for independence and there was then an influx of immigrants is unclear. However, one thing would be certain. More immigrants would have to learn English, and more businesses would want to learn some of the incomers’ languages so they could do business with them. In addition, there would be increased pressure on the third sector and various groups who work with immigrants to help them assimilate and get help, again putting pressure on the language skills of all those involved. We are aware that Global Connects can be accused of ‘well you would say that, wouldn’t you?’, but that does not make it any less true. It is not just our firm that would need to up its game if we have more non-English speakers coming to Scotland, it would be all those involved in translation and interpretation.
You can see the full Economist article here: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21596541-immigration-worries-scots-less-other-britons-could-change-wish-you-were-here