New research has found that two thirds of migrants living in Boston think immigration is talked about negatively, and support more action to bring together local migrant and non-migrant communities to create a more positive debate.
The finding, the first quantification of migrant opinion in Boston on immigration, comes from research carried out by the Migrants’ Rights Network (MRN) examining migrants’ experiences of Brexit and immigration policies in the UK.
MRN interviewed more than 270 respondents living in four locations – Boston, Wolverhampton, Oldham, and Barking and Dagenham – which had a majority leave vote in the EU referendum and have a high non-UK born population. 136 respondents living in Boston were interviewed for the study, including 130 who migrated from Europe.
Asked what changes to immigration policy could be made to benefit the local area, respondents in Boston recommended more action to bring together migrant and non-migrant communities to increase community cohesion and build strong relationships. They also called for better provision of ESOL classes and providing more information to migrant workers about their employment rights.
Nationally, the study found that a majority of migrants thought the local leave vote was driven by a belief among Britons that there are too many migrants in the UK or a desire for some of them to leave.
Most respondents felt that the referendum had already impacted life in the UK, including by increasing hate crime and discrimination, and creating uncertainty about migrants’ future status.
Commenting, Fizza Qureshi, Director of MRN, said:
“Brexit means that immigration policy will be reshaped over the coming years. Our research shows how important it is that we don’t exclude the people at the centre of the discussion – migrants themselves. If we do, we risk making the debate even more negative and polarised, while failing to address the issues facing our communities.
“If we want to build strong local communities, free of exploitation, we’ve got to invest in bringing migrants and non-migrants together and listening to the concerns they raise. “That’s the route to a more positive discussion about immigration that builds bridges while treating everyone, wherever they come from, with respect.”
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