Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Migration matters to Scotland

Aleksander Kudajczyk played Chopin last Sunday at the University of Glasgow. Mr. Kudajcsyk lives and works and Scotland. However, not too long ago, he was a cleaner in the law department at the University. He asked one day if he could play the piano at the University Chapel. The rest is as they say… history. In Poland, Aleksander had been a music student at one of Poland’s most renowned music schools and in the words of Stuart MacQuarrie, the University Chaplain. he played “exquisite Chopin”.

Mr. Kudajczyk represents the new wave of immigration to Scotland, young, skilled and contributing to his/her country of residence. Migration matters. Traditionally, Scotland has been a country of emigration; the outflow of human capital has inevitably depleted this country of brain power and economic potential. Our fertility is below replacement levels. This means that there are not enough young people to carry the burden of an ageing society.

However, since 2004 Scotland has been a net importer of people. The introduction of the points system for immigration and the Fresh Start programme clearly favour highly skilled immigrants. Much research points to the social and economic benefits of this migration. We must not, however, forget our moral duty to offer shelter for asylum seekers irrespective of their qualifications since all immigrants contribute their skills, their culture and their unique view of the world to the benefit of everyone in Scotland.

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