Strategic approaches to migration

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Co-financed by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

3. Strategic approaches to migration

3.5 Attracting and retaining migrants in your area

In some local authority areas, attracting migrants will be an important way of encouraging population growth and a larger working age population. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has undertaken research on attracting and retaining migrants in Scotland, in the context of migration policy being reserved to Westminster. It has suggested three main areas of focus:

  • supporting access to the job market;
  • improving the quality of life for immigrants; and
  • targeting those who are easiest to attract, and least likely to move on out of the area.

This supports wider research, which suggests that rural areas seeking to attract migrants need to think about:

  • economic diversification – to improve earnings potential
  • services – ensure access to high quality public services
  • tourism – employment opportunities, and preventing out migration
  • community empowerment – creating a different kind of community
  • uniqueness – what attracts people to come here.

It is important to think about the ‘pull factors’ which attract people to come to your area and stay there. This could include jobs, housing, good local services and education, but could also include softer factors which can enhance quality of life such as social opportunities, leisure opportunities, an attractive natural environment, a different way of living or more community control over local areas. Chapter Four of this toolkit has more information.

Find out more...

There is much more information in the EHRC’s report, Room for Manoeuvre.

A useful toolkit on attracting and retaining immigrants in Canada includes some helpful lessons which are also applicable to Scotland.

Here is a useful bank of resources on how to welcome migrants.

The website provides a wide range of information for prospective migrants on working, studying, doing business and living in Scotland.

Case study

We hosted a workshop with migrants from across Scotland, and people working with migrants.  At this session, in February 2015, migrant participants told us about the things that were most important to them when considering moving to an area.  Where possible, we have hyperlinked these points to other relevant parts of this toolkit.

Services and support

Good schools


Translation services

English classes





Employment and job security

Places and courses to study

Vibrant local economy

Accessible and available housing

Good quality private rented housing

The place

Open spaces and greenery

Local history

Sense of belonging


Friendly and welcoming people

Well planned places

What local authorities can do

Signpost migrants

Advise migrants of rights

Encourage employers to support migrants

Provide good links and transport

Encourage new business start ups