Freedom of Movement

The right to freedom of movement, through the Single Market, is of huge benefit to those from Scotland who want to live, study, shop, work, do business and retire – with full pension entitlements – elsewhere in the EU. In turn, migration from the EU has contributed hugely to the diversity of our culture, the prosperity of our economy and the strength of our society.

EU migrants pay more in taxes and social security than they receive in benefits.

  • 171,000 – The number of individuals born elsewhere in the EU currently resident in Scotland.
  • 2.2 million – The estimated number of those from the UK living in other EU countries, almost the same number as those from the rest of the EU who live in the UK.
  • £20 billion – The estimated positive net contribution of EU migrants to the UK economy between 2001 and 2011 according to University College London research from 2014. EU migrants pay more in taxes and social security than they receive in benefits because they tend to be younger and more economically-active than our own workforce.
  • 1.2% – The percentage of economically non-active EU migrants in the UK. A European Commission report published in 2013 found that the number of non-active EU migrants in the UK is a minuscule 1.2% of the total population.
  • 19,200 – The number of students from the rest of the EU at Scottish universities, attracting top talent and contributing positively to the Scottish economy.
  • Over 1,400 – The number of students from Scottish universities supported by the Erasmus programme to study abroad in 2012/13. Students from Scotland can train and study in any EU country under the same conditions as that country’s nationals. Over its lifetime the new Erasmus+ programme will see an increase of over 40% in EU funding to an overall budget of €14.7 billion – providing grants for more than four million people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad in 2014-2020.
  • 26 weeks – The number of weeks of maternity leave guaranteed by EU rules. The EU has provided important social protections for workers in Scotland and across the continent, including four weeks paid holiday a year and protections from redundancy, amongst other things. The EU has also extended these benefits to workers on fixed-term temporary contracts.