The first minister is set to stress that Scotland's economic prosperity will depend on a greater influx of people from abroad.
Mr McConnell says skilled migrants should be welcomed
Jack McConnell will use his keynote address to next week's Scottish Labour Party conference to set out his plans.
Mr McConnell is to acknowledge that he faces opposition from many Scots
unwilling to accept foreigners.
But he will also insist that he is determined not to be deflected from his
The first minister is expected to challenge the "intolerance and
prejudice" of anyone opposed to his proposals.
"There are those who are frightened by diversity and there are others whose
intolerance and prejudice do nothing but hold Scotland back," he will say.
"But I am determined we will not be deflected. So we must not underestimate
the scale of the argument we need to win if we are to challenge these out of
"Welcoming new people to Scotland does not threaten Scots, their jobs, or
their way of life.
"But I am certain of one thing. While winning the argument that Scotland
needs fresh talent is tough, it would be wrong for us to falter."
With Scotland's population dwindling, Mr McConnell has made clear in the past
that he wants to attract more people from abroad to study and work north of the
He has also been in close contact with Home Secretary David Blunkett
on the matter.