In today’s blogpost we shall be examining the recent comments from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and their recommendations on helping migrants to integrate in the UK.
The think tank has put forward suggestions to the government to assist areas that have experienced, and to prepare those areas that are expected to receive, high numbers of migrants. In a bid to assist the integration of the migrants in the larger community as a whole, the IPPR has suggested that additional financial support will help to alleviate tensions and increase community cohesion between various groups.
Other suggestions include local authorities taking a more active role in aiding integration through local activities, publishing more information on community life and holding more publicised citizenship ceremonies.
Fuelled by dangerous rhetoric from both the government and the media, public opinion on immigration has reached an all-time low. The migrant crisis of the summer drew the issue to the forefront of the public’s attention and led to pressure on the government to accept greater numbers of asylum seekers fleeing conflict, poverty and abuses in the Middle East. The government were quick to take a U-turn on their original quota and decided to accept up to 20,000 asylum seekers a year. However, critics cite Germany, who have agreed to accept 200,000 asylum seekers a year, as an example that the UK government’s increased efforts still fall well short of the mark.
According to the IPPR report, national and local government, communities and universities all have a role to play in assisting migrants to settle in their respective communities. Local councils will be given discretion over how they prioritise and allocate funds from the newly formed Controlling Migration Fund. Additional English language support for both schools and hospitals are two of the potential areas where these new funds could be allocated.
Local governments have been advised by the IPPR on strategies for informing central government in order to receive the necessary funding to support migrants. Greater planning, monitoring population trends and pre-empting the strain that an increased population will have on services and infrastructure are some of the suggestions that have been made. It is expected that 51% of the projected population growth of 10 million by 2039 will be due to net migration.
However, it is vital that those who emigrate to the UK understand the need to integrate within communities. Whilst the report cites correctly how institutions can assist transition to and integration in the UK, migrants have a responsibility to actively participate within community.
Whilst the issue of immigration certainly looks to dominate news headlines for the foreseeable future, a greater focus on integration of migrants would help to ease fears around immigration. By shifting the lens onto aiding integration one can hope that both existing and new communities can find common ground to grow and build relations. Tensions may always exist between different groups and, whilst additional funding will not be a magic wand, one would imagine that if used wisely it can lead to greater community cohesion.
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