‘Shire residents born outside UK nearly doubles

St Columba's church in Banchory now celebrates Mass in Polish
St Columba's church in Banchory now celebrates Mass in Polish

Latest census figures show that the number of Aberdeenshire residents born outside of the UK has nearly doubled in 10 years.

The population of those born outside the UK in the region in 2001 was 3.1%, but the 2011 figure shows that 5.9% of ‘shire residents were born in a different country.

A key reason for the increase is the 2004 EU expansion which saw countries like Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary join the organisation and benefit from free immigration arrangements.

Since then, thousands of people have left mostly Eastern European countries to find better wages in Britain.

The 2011 census figures show that some 55,231 Polish people were Scottish residents, almost equal to the number of Gaelic speakers in the country (57,602).

But the ‘shire figure is dwarfed by Aberdeen City which recorded 6.3% of foreign nationals resident in 2001 which jumped to 15.9% in 2011 - equal to Edinburgh and ahead of Glasgow, with 12.2 % foreign-born.

Numbers of foreign-born UK residents have been steadily rising for decades.

In Deeside, the 1991 census shows that just 1574 Banchory residents were born outside of the UK, but this increased to 2245 in the 2001 census.

Figures have not yet been released for the 2011 count.

Aberdeenshire Council are now offering free English lessons in the town.

Anyone interested should go along to Banchory Academy Community Education Centre at 7pm on Monday, October 7.