Perspectives: Peer research brings ‘invaluable insight’ to designing a Talent Attraction and Migration Service for Scotland.


Blog by Dr Sarah Kyambi, Director, Migration Policy Scotland

The Scottish Government is developing a Talent Attraction and Migration Service (TAMS) in 2023 to support people who wish to move to Scotland and help them to settle into new communities. This Service will provide advice and support to employers in Scotland seeking to bring in workers from overseas. It also offers a source of information and advice for migrants moving to Scotland. In May and June this year, Migration Policy Scotland conducted rapid response research to inform the migrant user engagement aspect of TAMS.

MPS’ pioneering approach to integrating Lived Experience involved engaging our Migrant LEx Panel members as peer researchers in a two-step process of data collection and focus group participation, which generated rich and relevant data to directly inform the design of the new service.

Migration Policy Scotland’s research has really helped us as we design and develop the Talent Attraction and Migration Service. It’s essential that we listen to users’ voices as we develop the service. MPS’s lived experience panel has brought invaluable insights to our work”.

Team Leader, Scottish Government Population and Migration Division

MPS research found that online information is a key and often preferred source of information for migrant users with government websites viewed positively as a source of reliable information. In developing the TAMS service, therefore the Scottish Government can expect a substantial level of positive interest from migrants considering Scotland as a destination. Our research unearthed several factors which are critical in getting the best from such sites. Unsurprisingly user-friendliness, accessibility and translatability are all important. In addition, information should be presented in ways that take account of the different information needs migrants have at distinct stages in their journey. Amongst existing online sites, the better offerings take account of the need to sequence information as well as provide it. As one research participant commented:

I like the way each tab [on a specific website] takes you through a process (to find a job, or a school). It’s not just the bare information, it’s a ‘how to’ guide.”

Focus Group participant & Peer Researcher

As the Scottish Government moves into a tender process for delivering TAMS our findings show the need to present information in a way that resonates with potential migrants with a website clearly dedicated to helping people to come to Scotland and settle here. The site’s images and examples need to be inclusive – to better support migrants in the work of imagining, as well as in the work of planning, that is involved in relocating. More practically, there is potential for the TAMS website to develop a ‘quick check’ function that would use existing, publicly available data on SQF classifications and sponsorship licenses allow migrants and employers to check whether advertised roles comply with existing visa routes. More consideration should also be given to whether services allowing for swifter transferability of qualifications could be integrated into the proposed website. Well-designed interactive tools along these lines have the capacity to make a good site great. Given the intended aim of the website to mitigate the impacts of the current immigration restrictions in the context of labour shortages and population concerns in Scotland, it is important the TAMS service is as effective as possible. Research can help with that – a slide deck summarising the findings of this research can be downloaded on the right.

Dr Sarah Kyambi is the Founder and Director of Migration Policy Scotland. You can find out more about her and about our Migrant LEx Panel here.


Download File/Report (PowerPoint Slides)