Workers from ethnic minorities face barriers in Scotland

Scotland is beset by ‘a chronic ethnic penalty’ when it comes to getting jobs, according to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) Scotland.

CRE Scotland yesterday warned members of the Scottish Parliament’s European and External Relations Committee that the country’s population would continue to decline and skills shortages would remain if barriers that prevent people from ethnic minorities from contributing to Scotland’s society and economy were not overcome.

The Scottish Executive estimates that the population of the country will fall below five million unless 8,000 more people move to Scotland every year until 2009.

Ali Jarvis, interim director at CRE Scotland, said addressing Scotland’s population decline by attracting new immigrants does not simply depend on getting more people into the country, it also depends on ensuring that they want to stay.

“We all like to think of Scotland as an attractive and welcoming country, but we need to face up to reality,” he said.

“A person in Scotland today from an ethnic minority background of the same age, with the same skills and qualifications and living in the same area as a white person is more likely to be unemployed, be in a more junior position and earn less than their white equivalent.”

“Scotland is beset by a chronic ethnic penalty – [which] damages our economy by preventing people from an ethnic minority background from fully realising their potential.

“Unless we tackle this head-on, new migrants will face the same fate; and Scotland will continue to be held back,” Jarvis said.

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