Poll suggests Scots want lower immigration

11 Mar 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A recent poll has suggested that Scottish people are less open to UK immigration than had previously been thought.

Commissioned by the BBC, the research found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Scots would like to see immigration reduced or stopped completely. This isn't too far off the figure for Britain as a whole which stands at 70 per cent.

The views of the people are in contrast to the opinions of politicians at Holyrood, who are generally of the opinion that the country is in need of more skilled migrants to help bolster the economy. But the latest poll suggests that just five per cent of the population are in agreement with this approach.

Dr Marina Shapira from the school of applied sciences at Stirling University commented on the findings, noting that there is a tendency for Scottish views on immigration not to be expressed as strongly as elsewhere in the UK.

Speaking to the BBC, she added: “But we shouldn't underestimate the power of politics in the UK level and the power of the media at the UK level and the things that people hear every day.”

The average net migration levels to Scotland are around 10,000 a year. This compares to the latest figures for the UK as a whole which stood at 298,000.

During the debates surrounding Scottish independence last year, the then First Minister Alex Salmond said that he would work to increase net migration to Scotland.

Analysts have suggested that the Scottish population may agree with Salmond and other politicians if the matter was broken down to highlight the country's need for skilled workers, instead of looking at the broader question of immigration as a whole.