Scots are “broadly comfortable” with migration and almost three-fifths believe it has a positive impact on the country, a survey has found.
The poll, which is the first study of attitudes to immigration in Scotland since 2014, also found a minority view the issue in a “more negative way”.
The research for Migration Policy Scotland, conducted by Diffley Partnership, found while 59% describe immigration as positive, 18% feel it has had a negative effect, while 23% are unsure.
Almost two-fifths (38%) of Scots want to see immigration increased, with 12% saying it should be increased a lot, while 26% say it should increase by a little.
Just over a third (34%) of those questioned said immigration levels should stay the same, while 28% want to see them reduce – 12% by a little and 16% by a lot.
More than a third (35%) of Scots over the age of 55 want to see immigration reduced.
Nearly half (47%) of those living in the Glasgow Scottish Parliament region want to see immigration increased, with 23% of people in the area supporting an increase by a lot.
Overall, a majority of those questioned agree migrants have a positive impact on the economy (56%), help to fill jobs for which it is hard to find workers (76%), bring new ideas and/or boost innovation (52%), bring new people to areas which need them (58%), and enrich Scottish cultural life (60%).
Nearly two-thirds of Scots (65%) disagreed with the sentiment that immigrants take jobs away from Scottish workers, with only 15% agreeing with this.
Meanwhile, only 30% said they feel immigrants are a burden on welfare services, with 47% disagreeing with this, while less than a quarter (23%) agree that immigrants worsen crime, with 41% disagreeing.
Speaking about the research, for which 1,162 people were questioned, Diffley Partnership founder and director Mark Diffley said: “The issue of migration has been high on the political agenda for a long time and this new research contributes some much-needed insight into the experiences and attitudes of people across Scotland.
“The survey shows that we feel broadly comfortable with and welcome migration to Scotland, with six in 10 thinking that migration has had a positive impact on Scotland, although there is a minority of the public which views migration in a more negative way.
“Given the importance of the issue, we intend to track attitudes over time and measure how public attitudes change.”
Migration Policy Scotland said the survey is the “first step” in its work to be a “more robust evidence base of attitudinal data on immigration in Scotland”.
Sarah Kyambi, the organisation’s founder and director, said: “The view from Scotland is often obscured in UK datasets. We need more research to track attitudes in Scotland and to dive deeper into what is shaping them.
“This survey marks the beginning of our efforts to improve this. The potential for consistent positive messaging to impact attitudes will be of interest to many countries needing to square their need for immigration with reluctant publics.”
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