Researchers at the University of the West of Scotland are calling on those recently returned to Scotland to take part in a study to better understand why people move back to the country, with hopes of informing future migration policy.

Scotland’s population increased by seven per cent between 2000 and 2017 following decades of decline and researchers want to understand how the country can continue to attract individuals to promote economic stability and growth.

Recent returners are being asked to take part in a questionnaire, which will take no longer than 30 minutes, with initial findings to be released at the beginning of 2020.

This study comes as Scottish Government recently unveiled plans to improve international alumni networks, improve research collaboration and promote Scotland as a place to live, study and work.

The country’s population would still be in decline, a trend that began the 1970s, were it not for inward migration. In 2000, the county’s population had declined to 5.07 million from 5.20 million in 1967 and following a period if migration, now stands at 5.44 million.

Dr Murray Leith, Reader in Politics and Dr Duncan Sim, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, both of the University’s School of Education and Social Sciences, are leading the research.

Dr Murray Leith, Reader in Politics, said: “The topic of migration is hotly debated in the political sphere and yet the fact remains that without migration, Scotland’s population and economy would almost certainly be in decline.

“Scotland is a great place to live, work and for businesses to invest, with one of the highest concentrations of universities in Europe and with half of the working population with further education, making our cities hubs for world-leading research and exciting start-ups, as well as a home for established businesses.

“The key is to retain this talent within Scotland, and this is where our research comes in. We want to find out what attracts people to stay or return to Scotland, from those moving back after a period abroad, to those who weren’t born in the country but have Scottish heritage.

“These findings will reveal current trends and it is our hope this research will also inform policy decisions on migration to continue to attract people to live and work in Scotland.”

The questionnaire takes no longer than 30 minutes to complete and can be accessed here:

Dr Murray Leith’s and Dr Duncan Sim’s new publication examining and explaining Scottish society, politics and economics, entitled ‘Scotland: the new state of an old nation’ will be published later this year by Manchester University Press.