Almost 400,000 non-UK nationals living in Scotland

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image captionAlmost 400,000 people in Scotland come from outwith the UK

Non-UK nationals make up 7.2% of Scotland’s population, according to figures published by the Scottish government.

The total of 388,000 includes 234,000 EU nationals.

People from outside the UK make up a disproportionate share of the workforce, at 8.3%. The employment rate for EU nationals of working age is 81.8%


statistics were compiled by the government’s chief economic adviser.

They are based on the annual population survey for 2019, collected and published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of EU nationals in employment in Scotland peaked at 153,000 in 2017. It has since declined by 2,000.

That followed a decade of growth, starting in 2007, when 51,000 EU nationals were in the Scottish workforce.

The total of non-EU nationals in employment in 2019 – calculated at 70,000 – was at its highest-ever level.

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image captionMany non-UK nationals work in health and care roles

The figures indicate the sectors with the highest proportion of non-UK nationals are:

  • Distribution, hotels and restaurants (12.5%)
  • Agriculture and fishing (9%)
  • Banking, finance and insurance (8.9%)

The statistics also indicate the proportion of non-nationals classified as “key workers” during the Covid crisis.

ONS defined these by industry or occupation.

By this measure, people from outwith the UK made up 7.5% of key workers.

Of these, 40% are employed in health and social care.

Related Topics

  • Population growth

  • Immigration
  • Migration
  • Scotland economy

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