caption: Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and members of the Scottish Migrants Network | Picture David Cruickshanks
THE Scottish Government has in recent years sought to increase Scotland’s falling population and introduce initiatives to attract and retain new migrants.
The Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in launching a workers’ rights poster for migrants said:
“Migration to and from Scotland is not a new thing. For generations, people from all over the world have come here to start new lives. We recognise the need for Scotland to continue to attract skills and talent from overseas – to help us weather the current economic storm and to enable Scotland to flourish in the longer term.”
Last month, the Scottish Government (with others) supported the Scottish Migrants Network Conference in Dundee on ‘Migrants in the Recession’. Seventy organisations and individuals participated from across Scotland to share information and learning through presentations and workshops.
Discussions included contributions from migrants themselves, Scottish Local Authorities, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Oxfam. The contribution of new migrants to the Scottish economy and the need to ensure workers’ rights and support across all sectors, was discussed. It was recognised that there have been growing challenges for new migrants as the recession has made employment more difficult and people struggle to claim rights.
Kamila Feddek, a Polish advice worker, said: “The situation has got worse during the recession. Many migrants are choosing to stay and settle in Scotland as the recession has hit countries like Poland later and their prospects now may be better here than back home. But if they lose their jobs it is difficult for them to claim their rights and the support they are entitled to after being registered as workers and paying their taxes; some for more than five years.”
In Scotland a range of organisations across sectors have come together with migrant communities to work together as part of the
Scottish Migrants Network to ensure new migrants rights are acknowledged.