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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 14:13 GMT
Migrant workers 'benefit' Tayside
Migrant worker
Most migrant workers came from new European Union member states
Migrant workers from Eastern Europe are helping to combat job shortages in Tayside as well as boosting the economy, new research has revealed.

There was a large increase in Tayside's migrant workers during 2004-05, but they gained jobs without taking opportunities away from local workers.

Numbers during last summer were estimated at between 2,700 and 4,500.

Of those surveyed, 63% of workers expected to remain in the UK, with 58% wishing to stay in Tayside.

The study was commissioned by regeneration agency Communities Scotland, along with Angus and Perth & Kinross councils and Scottish Enterprise Tayside. It was carried out by the University of Abertay.

It found that workers were generally well integrated into local communities although their main hurdle was overcoming language barriers.

From this research we can see not only the contributions that workers from abroad make to the area but also the challenges that they face coming to work in a foreign country
Sandy Watson
Communities Scotland

The majority of new workers came from new European Union member states such as Poland and the Czech Republic. They took on jobs in areas such as construction and tourism.

Sandy Watson, Communities Scotland area director for Tayside and Forth Valley, said the study highlighted the positive effect that the migrant worker population was having on the economy and life in the area.

"From this research we can see not only the contributions that workers from abroad make to the area but also the challenges that they face coming to work in a foreign country.

"This research will allow us to work with our partners to develop services and support mechanisms that help meet the needs of those who come to work in the area from abroad."

Flexible workforce

Employers said one of the reasons for taking on migrant workers was because they were flexible and productive.

Neil McGregor, director of Scottish Economic Research at the University of Abertay, said it provided a real insight into the scale and characteristics of Tayside's migrant worker population.

"The research has far reaching implications for public sector agencies, businesses and local communities - not least as a result of the potential for migrant workers to help reverse the declining and ageing population trends seen across Tayside for many years," he added.


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