Race and Immigration

British ethnic minorities differing views on immigration and Europe explored in new report

Race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust launch new report on Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) population's attitudes

Ethnic minorities in Britain have very different views on immigration and Europe, according to a new report by the Runnymede Trust.

The report (called 'This is Still About Us') uses high-sample surveys and focus groups across several areas to explore BME opinion.

Key findings are that BME people:

  • Feel more positive about immigration than the general population;
  • Are more likely to feel that the public debate around immigration negatively impacts on them personally, even if they or their parents were born in Britain;
  • As a result BME citizens feel they sometimes need to "prove" they are British;
  • Broadly share concerns of the wider population around the pace of immigration, but their concerns are more focussed on pressure to services and less on cultural impact;
  • Are more ambivalent about Europe and are less likely to take advantage of free movement within EU borders;
  • Were more concerned about Britain being a 'hostile environment' for immigrants, including the Home Office 'Go Home' vans;
  • Welfare benefits: BME people are more likely to be concerned about the impact of benefit cuts on immigrant families;
  • Schools: BME people are more likely to be concerned that their British-born children have less rights to access public services;
  • Citizenship and immigration system: BME people are more likely to be concerned about the cost of the citizenship process, family visa policies and Home Office responses to immigration queries;
  • Variations between different BME groups: Long-settled communities were more likely to believe newer migrants had easier experiences;
  • Europe: BME people are more likely to view Europe in explicitly ethnic or racial terms, identifying ‘Fortress Europe’ as a way of keeping out non-white immigrants while allowing significant levels of European migration.

Recommendations include:

  • BME people and migrants must be included more regularly in policy debates and policy thinking on migration;
  • The Government needs to develop a more coherent integration strategy to combat discrimination and unfair inequalities between migrants and non-migrants, as well as between ethnic minorities and white British people, including in the labour market;
  • Immigrants should be provided with a "handbook" of information about British life, including their rights and responsibilities, and how to access public services;
  • ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses and the Adult Skills Budget should be increased to to encourage integration and better labour market and social outcomes for migrants and their children;
  • Local authorities should also be supported in developing better forecasting of demands on health services and education.

Read 'This is Still About Us', Runnymede's report on Race and Immigration.