Mixed views from migrants on life in Scotland

08/06/2010

The Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee met in Glasgow’s City Chambers yesterday where it heard first-hand experiences from more than 25 people who arrived in Scotland as migrants. The session was part of the committee’s inquiry into the impact and contribution of migrant populations within Scottish society. The inquiry also examines the extent of trafficking.

Committee Convener Margaret Mitchell MSP said: "Yesterday morning's session was invaluable in informing the committee inquiry. We heard from former asylum seekers, former refugees, economic migrants and EU citizens on a range of subjects.

"We heard mixed views on public services, very negative views on housing, in particular the private rented sector, while views on education were very positive. In terms of political issues, people were unaware of their rights and there was a lack of engagement in the political process.

"Overall, participants felt there was a lack of in-depth analysis of what and who a migrant is, which is not always helped by negative media perceptions.”

The comments below on attitudes, employment and politics are from a number of participants in the morning session.

Sofi Taylor
"I am from Malaysia and I arrived in Glasgow in 1973. I love Glasgow but people still talk about migrants over-running the country.

"What people don’t realise is that migrants are not only replacing the thousands of Scots who emigrate every year but that we contribute our labour and our taxes to Scottish society and without migrants the health service and catering industry would collapse.”

Apeksha Walavalkar
"One of the challenges I have faced since coming to Edinburgh in 2007 is the fact that despite gaining my Masters degree at Edinburgh University, UK employers completely disregard my work experience as a manager at IBM in India.

"It is very difficult to convince UK employers that my experience and skills are relevant and are transferable.”

Amadu Khan
"For me, politics in Scotland seem far more positive than Westminster. Asylum seekers are seen as a positive resource in Scotland who can contribute to the communities of Scotland and the multiculturalism of the country.”

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