Employment for immigrants

Irish immigrants

Many Irish people who arrived in Scotland were very poor, uneducated and unskilled. This meant that they were forced to take on whatever work was available, often working for the lowest wages.

Most had been farmers or had worked on farms as labourers. Some had skills in weaving and spinning and this was useful in the factories. Women and children could also work, especially in the mines.

Workers could lose their jobs easily and had to put up with low wages.

Italian immigrants

Many early Italian immigrants made their living by selling Catholic figures. By the late 19th centruy, many had taken up work selling ice cream from barrows.

By the start of the 20th centruy, many were working in towns and cities throughout Scotland in the catering business. They set up cafes, restaurants, ice cream shops and fish and chip shops. Some of the most famous of these shops include 'Nardini’s' in Largs and Glasgow, as well as 'Valvona and Crolla' in Edinburgh.Many Italian immigrants also moved into hairdressing.

Jewish immigrants

By the end of the 19th century, many Jewish immigrants worked as university lecturers and traders in jewellery, furniture and hats, amongst other products.

Jewish people were also involved in tailoring and the tobacco industry.