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Understanding Immigration and Migration: Challenges and Empathy in Scotland

Immigration and migration have played a vital role in building nations throughout history. They have brought diversity, innovation, and new perspectives to societies. The contributions of immigrants and migrants have enriched the cultural fabric of countries and advanced economic and social progress. The resilience and determination of individuals, who often leave behind everything they know to start a new life, have inspired generations and contributed to the growth and development of nations.

Immigration and migration are complex phenomena that shape our societies. This article aims to shed light on the differences between immigration and migration, explore the challenges newcomers face in Scotland, and provide insights on how non-immigrants can empathise with immigrants. Additionally, we will touch upon the consideration of Police Scotland when engaging with immigrants and migrants.

Immigration vs. Migration:

Immigration refers to individuals moving to a foreign country to establish permanent residence. Conversely, migration is the act of individuals moving from one place to another, whether temporarily or permanently, usually due to economic, social, or political factors.

Challenges Faced by Newscots:

Newscots often face numerous challenges when starting their lives in a foreign country. These challenges include language barriers, cultural adjustment, discrimination, limited social networks, obtaining employment, accessing healthcare, and understanding legal systems and procedures.

Cultivating Empathy:

We can cultivate empathy through various approaches. These include:

  • Actively listening to their stories.

  • Trying to understand their unique perspectives.

  • Engaging in open-minded discussions.

  • Participating in cultural events.

  • Educating themselves about their home countries and cultures.

Police Scotland Considerations:

Police Scotland has a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals, including immigrants and migrants. Officers must approach interactions with immigrants and migrants with sensitivity, respect, and cultural awareness. Building trust and fostering positive relationships with these communities encourages reporting of crimes, enables effective communication, and ensures equitable treatment.

It's crucial to remember that migrants and immigrants might have different experiences with the police and the justice system in their home countries. They may have witnessed or experienced police brutality or corruption, which can lead to mistrust or fear of the justice system.


When dealing with immigrants and migrants, being aware of any potential biases is essential. Biases can be based on various factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and socioeconomic status. These biases can affect how individuals are treated, leading to discrimination and unfair treatment. It is crucial to approach interactions with immigrants and migrants with an open mind, free from preconceived notions or prejudices. Building cultural awareness and empathy can reduce biases and promote positive and inclusive interactions. It is also essential to recognise and challenge any biases within institutions and systems, such as the justice system, to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly and equitably.

Lived Experience:

Scottish Memories - Immigration Stories (PDF Attached)

17 Scottish-Memories Immigration Stories
Download PDF • 21.08MB

It takes a lot of courage to leave one's home country and start afresh in a foreign land. I am grateful for the support from various organisations that helped me navigate the complex visa processes and provided guidance on settling in Scotland.

Below is a list of some support groups across Scotland that assist immigrants and migrants:

  1. Scottish Refugee Council

  2. Migrant Help

  3. Unity

  4. The Welcoming Association

  5. Maryhill Integration Network

  6. Kurdish Cultural Centre Scotland

  7. Bridges Programmes

  8. Saheliya

  9. Govan Community Project

  10. Sikh Sanjog

  11. Positive Action in Housing

  12. Shakti Women's Aid

  13. African Challenge Scotland

  14. Bridging the Gap

  15. Scottish Detainee Visitors

  16. Children 1st

  17. Welsh Refugee Council

  18. Southside Association

  19. Renfrewshire Effort to Empower Minorities

  20. Govanhill Community Development Trust

Immigration and migration bring unique challenges that require understanding, empathy, and societal support. By recognising the difficulties newcomers face, actively engaging in empathy-building practices, considering the perspective of immigrants, and promoting inclusive interactions, we can foster an environment that celebrates diversity and supports the successful integration of immigrants and migrants in Scotland. Support groups listed above play a significant role in providing essential assistance and guidance to immigrants, helping them navigate their new lives with confidence and resilience.

Mervyn Almeida

SEMPER Scotland


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