EU nationals working in Scotland contribute an average of £34,400 each - £4.4bn annually - to the country’s gross domestic product, according to new data analysis.
It is the first time economists have calculated a figure highlighting the possibility that if net EU migration to the UK was to fall Scotland’s predicted population growth would be disproportionately affected.
Evidence submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) by the Scottish Government demonstrates how the economy benefits from the presence of 128,000 workers born elsewhere in Europe.
Alasdair Allan, MSP, Europe Minister, speaking after a meeting with EU workers employed at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary who raised concerns about Brexit, said: “As these new figures confirm, workers from other EU countries bring huge economic benefits to Scotland. These findings are in line with previous research which support that migration positively impacts regional economies.
“Businesses big and small, the agriculture sector, financial services companies and our NHS are concerned about no longer being able to employ them.
“The health sector could be hit hard. Currently, EU citizens are filling hard-to-fill specialisms and areas of acute shortages. Ominously, recent figures released by the Nursing and Midwifery Council confirm that since the referendum, the number of EU nurses and midwives registering to work in the UK is declining.
Mr Allan added: “EU citizens and their families also make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live, including in remote and rural areas. That is why we believe fundamentally that continuing free movement of people is in the best interests of Scotland and the UK as a whole.”