We're no' awa' tae bide awa': Scotland's returning diaspora

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At a time when the world is becoming more mobile, and migration levels are
high, relatively limited attention has been paid to return migrants. Yet returners
can play an important role in their homeland. In Scotland, with a sluggish
population growth fuelled entirely by immigration, return movement is an
important way of growing the population and the economy. This paper reports
on a study of return migrants to Scotland in 2019/20 and discusses their
reasons for return, their experiences and their long-term commitment to the
country. Respondents generally felt positively about their return and there was
considerable support for Scottish independence, particularly if that led to
rejoining the European Union. Brexit was an important factor in making Scots
feel unwelcome in England and helping to encourage return to Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-471
Number of pages22
JournalScottish Affairs
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Scottish diaspora
  • return migration
  • identity
  • constitutional change
  • Brexit


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