Scots often have many identities. The Independence movement has always been comfortable with this and openly embraced it. Campaign organisations such as English Scots for Yes or Poles for Yes illustrate this particularly well but Scotland has also long been part of a European framework. Scottish communities have, for hundreds of years, made their homes in the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Germany and Poland to name just a few.
As a result, Scottish identity has always had a European element to it. To this day, Scots continue to take advantage of the single most visible benefit of the EU: the right to travel, work, or retire anywhere in the EU, from the Algarve to the Arctic Circle, from Stornoway to Cyprus. No Scottish citizen needs a visa to travel and there are no impediments to working in any country you choose. It is only fair that we extend that right to other EU citizens.
This is under threat as immigration continues to receive hostile coverage in Westminster and in the press.
The case needs to be made clearly: freedom of movement across the EU has been of huge benefit to Scotland.
Immigration is not just about the benefits that EU citizens bring to Scotland, but about the reciprocal benefits that Scots enjoy in the EU. Currently, around 1.2 million UK citizens reside elsewhere in the EU. That they are free to do so is entirely right and any attempt to restrict immigration in the UK will undoubtedly have an impact on those abroad too.
Freedom of movement is a two way street. It opens up opportunities for Scots, but EU migrants coming to Scotland have been a huge boost to Scotland too. Immigration from the EU is not something to be condemned or hidden, it should be celebrated for the boost to our communities and economy that it is.
Migrant Economic contribution, the Facts:
In Scotland, 78.9% of EU born citizens are in employment compared to a Scottish average of 73.1%.In the years up to 2011, EU citizens living here (but not born in the UK) contributed £4.96 billion more to the UK economy than they took out in public services, such as through the NHS, education, or welfare. Recent calculations have shown that EU immigrants make a net contribution to the UK of £4,775,341 per day or, to put it in stark terms, £55 per second to the public purse.
For more information click here.