Linking Northern Communities socially, culturally and economically: East European Immigration in Scotland

Impact: Societal

Description of impact

Since 2004 Scotland has seen a wave of migration from East Central European countries that acceded to the EU. In contrast to much of the rest of the UK, in Scotland low birth rates and out-emigration still create gaps in the labour market, particularly in rural areas, which these migrants have been encouraged to fill. The aim of the project was to examine migrants’ cultural, social and economic identities and the attitude of Scottish society itself: how do both sides adapt to the challenges of integration? How do the attitudes and reaction of Scottish society to migrant settlement influence integration processes? The objective was to compare and contrast the experiences of such processes among different national groups and explore the potential for social, cultural and economic growth in Scotland. This was achieved through a range of inter-connected activities, including public engagement events, seminars and a schools outreach programme.

Who is affected by, or benefits from, the research?

Migrant communities, local communities and neighbourhoods, schools, children and parents, East European (esp. Polish) business community, teachers, social workers, councils, Cross Party Group on Poland in the Scottish parliament, policy-makers, academics, and the wider public.

Outcomes to Date / Future Developments

Public outreach and engagement, knowledge transfer, in form of three public roundtable discussions, a schools project with primary school classes in Aberdeen and a Polish Saturday school in Inverness, and engagement with the Cross Party Group on Poland in the Scottish Parliament on the topic of integration of East European migrants in Scotland.

Presentations on the project were delivered to the Cross-Party Group on Poland and discussion held with COSLA representative. These contributions will hopefully influence the evaluation of integration practices, as well as raising awareness for local policy implementation. A specific focus here was on the need for a holistic approach to education at all levels, incorporating especially language, history and culture.

The group will continue membership of the Cross-Party Group on Poland and participation in the ESRC project at the University of Glasgow and GramNet, as well as collaboration with academic networks with Lithuania, Poland and Latvia.
Impact statusImpact Completed (Closed)
Impact date20142015
Category of impactSocietal
Stage of ImpactEngagement


  • Migration
  • Social cohersion
  • heritage
  • integration
  • policy-making