Scotland has both altruistic and self-interested reasons to welcome immigration – leader comment

An increasing elderly population means more demand for care services
An increasing elderly population means more demand for care services
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Scotland’s population is falling so it needs immigrants, but being friendly to strangers is a good thing in its own right.

Ever since the first humans began to venture out from the birthplace of the species in Africa, our story has been one of migration and exploration.

In the millennia since, we have created settlements on every single continent and been to every corner of the planet, from the highest mountain to the deepest sea trench, and even to the Moon.

The idea that humans are not supposed to go in search of a better life flies in the face of this epic story and yet it is one to which many people seem all too willing to subscribe.

But Scotland has good reasons to shun anti-migrant sentiment that are both altruistic and in our own self-interest.

Scotland’s population is ageing and would be falling were it not for inward immigration. Fewer people of working age means less money for vital public services, like care for the elderly people, and a downward economic spiral.

But perhaps we should consider ourselves blessed to have such a problem, given the solution pushes us away from small-minded xenophobia and towards being welcoming and friendly to those who are a bit different to us – in short, to become nicer people.

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