Joining the immigrant underclass
25 April 2007
Audrius Lelkaitis is a Lithuanian TV journalist. In February he shaved his head and donned a secret camera: he was about to pretend to be an unskilled worker who did not speak English, as part of a BBC investigation of Eastern European immigration in the UK. He recounts harrowing experiences of cramped rooms sleeping 12 men and women, 12-hour night shifts at a chemical packing plant without training, and surviving on loans while waiting for wages that were paid late and only partially.
East Europeans reach the parts others can't
October 12, 2007
A new study by the British Office of National Statistics says the arrival of Poles and others from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 is the "largest single wave of foreign in-movement ever experienced by the UK". Analysis of the newcomers who have registered to work shows they have reached all parts of the country, and are overwhelmingly young, single, and male. Most are in lower-skilled jobs.
Migrant workers: What we know
21 August 2007
The UK was one of the few countries to give the citizens from the new EU Member States free access to its labour market in 2004. So what do we know about what has happened since? The figures are incomplete, but there is enough information to chart some of the trends in the arrival of Eastern European workers. Answers to the questions, who are they, where do they go, what type of jobs do they get, and what has the social impact been.
Migrants' road to UK integration
29 May 2007
One in four Eastern European migrants in the UK spends no time with British people, a new study reveals. Some two-thirds said their English skills were "none" or "basic" when they arrived, and one in five was working for less than £5 an hour. But while only 35% of recent arrivals said they felt a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood, 72% of long-term residents did. The BBC asks two Lithuanian immigrants what they think the barriers to integration are.
Multi-cultural world of migration
29 May 2007
Two-thirds of the local councils the BBC contacted said that they had no faith in the British government's official number of migrants in their area. The MP for Peterborough says, "We've seen significant pressures on .. primary care, doctors surgeries, housing, and primary education." Protesting local authorities argue that without the right data, central government financing decisions are arbitrary. But Father David Jennings beams as he recounts how the congregation at his Peterborough Church has nearly doubled in size in three years. "We now celebrate mass in six different languages."
So you're Polish and want a job...
25 September 2006
If there was ever any doubt that the UK is in the grips of an extraordinary revolution, then hunt out the new migrant worker recruitment fairs. Some 5,000 Poles turned up at one organised by the London-based newspaper Polish Express, queuing patiently for a chance to hand over a CV. Most were young, some had only just arrived, on a one-way budget airline ticket. "I just don't see any chances for us in Poland," said Adam Pawlik.
Schools facing influx of Poles
24 September 2007
Small primary schools in the Dutch town of Maasdriel are facing difficulties because of a large influx of Polish children. They need special education, says alderman Gijsbert Smit, and that costs money. He says the Ministry of Education's financing regulations are too complicated and ill-equipped to accommodate the extra educational tasks the influx of Polish children brings.
How tide turned on 'flood of migrants'
More than half of the Poles who have travelled to Britain to work since May 1 have returned home, the Guardian has learned, after being confronted by slave-labour wages, exorbitant living costs and organised criminals who fleeced them for passports and savings.
Polish labourers kept in Italian 'prison camp'
Polish farmworkers who travelled to southern Italy were kept in a "concentration camp" where they were fed on little more than bread and water, expected to labour for up to 15 hours a day, and beaten by guards who called themselves kapos.
EU migrants swell homeless numbers
Migrants from the new EU countries are putting a strain on homeless services in London. Some agencies report that more than half those attending night shelters and day centres are recent arrivals from central and eastern Europe. A survey found that 40% of the homeless from the new EU countries had been in Britain for more than a year.
Polish 'slave' labourers feared murdered
More than a hundred Poles, lured to Italy by the promise of work, have disappeared. It is feared some were murdered while working as virtual slave labourers in the fields of Puglia. In July, 25 people were seized in a joint operation by Italian and Polish police after an inquiry revealed that thousands of Poles had been hired to work on farms described by Italy's chief organised crime prosecutor as "concentration camps". Puglia Police are looking into the deaths of 15 people.
Polish migrants flee violent Britain
Many Polish migrants are leaving the UK in the wake of several high-profile murders. Poles say immigrants are forced to settle in deprived inner-city estates, where they endure gang violence and discrimination. 'An added problem is anti-Polish hate-crime [in] rural areas,' said Victor Moszczynski. Some 16,000 immigrants from eastern Europe left in 2006, compared to only 3,000 the year before.
East-to-West Migration Remaking Europe
Janis Neulans has never heard of Guinness. In his home town, a village of eight people on Latvia's Russian border, he learned truck-driving, not Yeats. He doesn't know what the Irish minimum wage is, but he dreams of it - and he is one of 150,000 new workers, mostly Poles, Lithuanians and Latvians, to make his way to Ireland in the past 18 months. He agreed to let a Washington Post reporter accompany him on his quest.
Loyalists make Catholic Poles welcome
A Northern-Irish estate infamous for the expulsion of Catholics is now welcoming an influx of Catholic residents from eastern Europe. And the Ulster Defence Association, hoping to reverse an upsurge in attacks on immigrants in Protestant working-class areas, is so keen to prevent them from leaving, it has leafleted Lisburn to urge support for the migrant families. One leaflet reminds loyalists of the contribution made by Polish pilots during WW2.
Hundreds of Gypsies Left Romania for Turin, Italy
2007-02-26 · Dzeno Association
Almost all the Gypsies from the Romanian village of Rau de Mori now live in shelters and mobile homes on the outskirts of Turin, Italy. Some 100 had left their village last year, and the rest joined after Romania's accession to the EU.
They feed their electrical appliances from the street lighting system, and carry their water in cans from the closest city district. They said that they could not find work, and were now begging. But, says Horia Munteanu, "We live here together, as we did back home, only better."
Europe Keeps Door to Poor Albanians Closely Guarded
BIRN Balkan Insight
Since the 1990s, Albania's economy has grown by 6-7% a year, lifting many out of extreme poverty, creating a fragile middle class and making a handful of people very rich. But for many others, emigration is still the main escape from poverty.
The EU's relaxation of visa restrictions on South East Europeans will not help them. Critics say they may actually reinforce social divisions, hurting those lacking skills and connections, and helping those who least need it. Reportage from Albania.
East Europeans Crowd Through Britain's Wide-Open Door
The New York Times
Since the EU expansion, waves of East Europeans are transforming parts of London into Slavic and Baltic enclaves. Britain has absorbed these workers however, with unemployment still at 4.7 percent.
They are arriving at a rate of 16,000 a month, many more than the government expected. Tens of thousands have also moved to Ireland and Sweden, the only other countries that opened their labor markets to the new members.
Some say the newcomers are pushing wages down, working for about a quarter less. But "they are making a good reputation as highly skilled, motivated workers," said a British Embassy diplomat.
UK receives more than 400,000 migrants
At least 427,000 east European migrants have come to work in the UK in the past two years, the government admitted - a figure likely to be used by those who wish to stop Romanian and Bulgarian workers coming to Britain next year.
The government originally estimated an annual intake of 5,000-13,000 workers from the new member states. The government is "yet to take a decision" on Bulgaria and Romania.
Migrating workers leave big gap in the East
A World Bank report finds that "post-accession labour flows" from eastern Europe to the 'old' EU member states had "a significant impact on the sending countries". Labour shortages are already visible in the Baltics and Poland, and the outflow of workers could slow economic growth.
The report recommends that the new member states turn east for even cheaper workers, "phasing in a more liberal regime for importing labour" themselves.
East to west EU migration not slowing down
90,000 Poles alone registered to work in Ireland in 2006 compared to 65,000 in 2005. Polish construction workers in Ireland risk labouring 60 hours per week for just 300 pay, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita has warned. Net migration to the UK hit 400,000 in 2005 - almost double the level in 2004, a study says.
Meanwhile, Romanian authorities said 9,000 people crossed the border into Hungary on the first day after Romania's EU accession, but the vast majority went back after a cup of coffee.
Italian Politician Calls for Imposing Visa on Bulgarians and Romanians
2007-06-14 · News.bg
Filippo Penati, chairman of Milan province and of the left coalition in Italy, has called on the government to impose a moratorium on the entrance of Bulgarians and Romanians. Since the countries' EU accession, both can enter Italy with just their personal ID documents. Penati wants to reimpose a visa regiment, claiming that crime by non-Italians is wounding Northern Italy.
Italy and Romania urge EU help with migrants
The prime ministers of Italy and Romania have urged the European Commission to help EU countries cope with the integration of other member states' citizens - in particular of Roma origin.
In a joint letter to the commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, the centre-left Italian leader Romano Prodi and Romanian liberal leader Calin Popescu-Tariceanu wrote that "the destination member states don't have the means to confront the difficulties that face them on their own."
They called on the EU executive to develop a "European strategy of inclusion for the Roma" and other disadvantaged people, as well as clearer rules on deporting EU citizens who do not fulfil the conditions for living in other member states.
Popescu-Tariceanu arrived in Rome following a public outcry in Italy over a rising number of crimes committed by foreigners, particularly Romanian citizens of Roma origin.
Last week, the Italian government adopted measures allowing the local authorities to expel migrants without proper documentation and with previous records in the police register.
Bucharest reacted by protesting against its citizens being singled out as the target of such extraordinary measures, particularly highlighting cases of racism-motivated attacks on Romanian immigrants by Italians. The Romanian prime minister accused Italian politicians of triggering "a wave of xenophobia".
But on Wednesday, the two leaders agreed on some bilateral action to tackle the situation, such as forming a joint police force and more coordination by border police from both countries.
Also, Bucharest will strengthen its consular network in Italy, while Rome plans to introduce new measures to boost social integration of newly arrived immigrants.
According to Eurostat figures, more than 240,000 Romanians were registered as residents in Italy this year, with almost twice the number registered in Spain.
The Italian authorities estimate that around 560,000 Romanians live in the country, representing around one percent of its population. There was a significant rise of their numbers after Romania joined the EU this January.
Italian Senate backs deportation
6 December 2007
Italy's government has survived a confidence vote in the Senate over a decree allowing the expulsion of EU citizens deemed a danger to society.
The government won by only two votes - 160-158 - after turning the issue into one of confidence, in order to unite its fractious coalition.
The security package must now be passed by the lower house to become law.
The measure was adopted last month, after the murder of a woman in Rome, allegedly by an immigrant from Romania.
The Interior Minister, Giuliano Amato, had threatened to resign if the decree was not approved by parliament. [..]
Some left-wing senators are uneasy with some of the provisions of the decree, adopted on a wave of public indignation after the brutal murder of Giovanna Reggiani in late October. [..]
Some 117 deportation orders have been served against Romanian citizens since the adoption of the decree, Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.
Brits abroad: They come over here...
The Brits have heard all the arguments about immigration from Eastern Europe, but what about the other side of the story? Andrew Osborn visits a Balkan town that has been overrun by the English.
Police want more details on migrants
18 April 2008
Eastern European countries should provide more details about suspected criminals living in Britain, said a report for the Association of Chief Police Officers. It responds to concerns about the problems associated with the sudden influx of east European migrants, which some local police forces have said has led to community tensions and increases in certain types of crime.
Looking after victims and witnesses is also "substantially more complex now than three years ago," said Cambridgeshire Chief Constable Julie Spence: "We have seen an increase in specific offences such as motoring offences, sex trafficking, and worker exploitation". Since 2004, about 800,000 people have registered for work in Britain from the new EU Member States.
We have to tackle slum landlords before it is too late
The Evening Times
15 April 2008
Glasgow city council leaders pledged to step up the war against slum landlords after the Evening Times revealed how the council shut down a cockroach-infested flat where 11 Slovakian Roma were living. It had no heating or hot water, was damp and had a toilet next to the cooker.
Deputy council leader Jim Coleman said hundreds of people could be living in similar conditions because of ruthless landlords: "People are living in absolute squalor."
He said a large number of Slovakian Roma arrived in the city some time ago and they were now being followed by a second wave of Romanian Roma. "We've spent more than 12 months working with the Slovaks, engaging them, putting extra resources into Govanhill and getting them into the education system," he said. "It's working well because a lot of Slovak Roma are starting to speak to housing associations."
But the Romanians "can only claim limited benefits," Coleman added. "They have no skills and .. come from a culture where they are the bottom of the heap," and are often "getting exploited".
£400 a month for insect-ridden flat
THE Evening Times visited another rented property under investigation by council bosses on the city's South Side.
At first glance the conditions in this private flat were at least as bad as those we saw at the Allison Street [..].
There is structural damage to the building and it is obvious it has not been redecorated for several years.
Instead, there are random patches of paint on the roof and wallpaper peeling from the walls, leaving crevices for insects to breed.
The neglected flat was home to a family of 10 - including babies.
Like the family in Allison Street, the people living here said they had no access to running hot water.
Ageing electrical equipment was evident throughout the house and the family had to keep a heater running full-blast constantly to keep at least one room warm.
Firebrats, inch-long crawling insects that thrive in warm spaces, slithered from behind pictures hanging on the walls and made their way across every surface.
In the space of five minutes, the father killed half a dozen of them on the wall and a nearby heater to keep them away from his sleeping baby.
But even as he reached forward to crush another insect, he refused to criticise the state of the home that costs him nearly £400 a month, fearing he would be made homeless by the rogue landlord.
He said: "I can't talk about him.
"If he tells us to leave, my family have nowhere to go."
A friend who was visiting the Roma family at the time said: "The real tragedy is that they feel those conditions are better than they had before they came to Glasgow.
"On top of that, they had no chance of a job where they were.
"No-one would consider employing them and they feel that at least here they have a chance to make a living for themselves and their family."
This post has really brightened my day, since other countries are finally sharing the human wave of East European immigrants.
Foofie wrote:This post has really brightened my day, since other countries are finally sharing the human wave of East European immigrants.
... no comment...
nimh, great pooling of resources, as always!
Is it my imagination or do more East European immigrants smoke, than the general U.S. population?
Revealed: the 4000 migrant children in our schools who can't speak English
The Sunday Herald
31 August 08
SCOTTISH SCHOOLS are failing to teach English to the rising numbers of migrant eastern European pupils and will create a generation of new Scots without the most basic grasp of the language, according to a BBC investigation.
Teachers, union leaders and education chiefs claim the Scottish government is failing to provide enough funding for specialists to tutor foreign-speaking pupils, with the latest figures revealing that 138 languages are spoken by 28,000 pupils, and 3595 speak no English at all.
Mother Tongue, to be broadcast on Radio Scotland tomorrow, found only 270 language support teachers for 15,000 migrant pupils, and at one school in the heart of Glasgow's Roma community only 3% spoke English as their first language on enrolment.
The problem is exacerbated by the lack of specialists who can teach English as an Additional Language (EAL) and almost 4000 children began school after the summer holidays with little or no English.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) wants the numbers of pupils without English in any one class to be limited. The teaching union claims the current system places too much strain on teachers, who complain about migrant pupils being "flung" into the education system where they are left to sink or swim when it comes to learning the language - which can take eight years for a child.
Marjorie Bell is a teacher at Annette Street Primary School, which lies in the heart of the Slovakian and Romanian Roma community in the Govanhill area of Glasgow, currently has 79% of its 208 pupils registered as EAL pupils, with 30% from eastern Europe.
Bell last year made an impassioned appeal at the EIS annual conference for the numbers of non-English speaking pupils to be limited in any class to ease the burden on pupils and teachers. Glasgow City Council rejected it as illegal under race relations legislation.
She said: "Although we used to have one or two or three non-English speaking children, to have so many arriving at one time was very difficult to cope with. If you get to the situation ...where almost half your class is non-English speaking, then it really does put incredible strain on the whole class.
"EAL is so under-funded and the bilingual units are usually full. I have a new pupil from Pakistan, with virtually no English language at all, who was put forward for the bilingual unit. She might be lucky to get a place at Christmas, which is a shame because she has to struggle along until then.
"The problem is all over the country because of the increasing numbers of migrant workers.
"At least an element of EAL should be an integral part of all teacher training to raise awareness of the needs of bilingual pupils. It takes eight years for a young person to become truly conversant in English. If a child grows up in a family where English isn't the first language, it takes time for them to develop it as an equal or first language and they will need EAL."
Bell cautioned that more research is needed to assess how many migrants plan to stay long-term in Scotland before the impact of the education failures can be predicted on the economy. "I think significant numbers of people view working in Scotland as an opportunity to make enough money to enjoy a better lifestyle back home, but under the United Nations charter all children have the right to an education. Teachers want to do their best for the children in their care."
According to Polish community leaders in the Highlands, there are 2.8 language teachers throughout the region, which allows Polish children with language problems only 15 minutes a week of teaching.
Zosia Wierzbowicz-Fraser, chairman of the Inverness Polish Association, claimed the Scottish government had not thought through how to deal with the influx of Polish people and added: "It should have been more thoughtfully analysed and prepared and infrastructure set up before this avalanche."
Geography master Fraser McCallum, who teaches at Drummond High in Edinburgh - which traditionally has a strong base of foreign language speaking pupils - said pupils are "flung in" and expected to cope with the language difficulties.
He said: "You know that the pupil should be attaining better, but obviously has a barrier to their learning. It's frustrating for the pupil as well that they are not able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
"The kids are flung into the education system and I know there's an immersion theory of throwing them in and hoping they will pick up the language."
Colleague Douglas Forlan added: "My fear is we're going to send the kids out into a work environment where they aren't going to get the job they deserve and doesn't match their ability. It's economic suicide."
The EIS fears cutbacks to education budgets will mean even less funding for EAL support. Labour-run Glasgow City Council claims the government has not provided extra funding to cope with the increases in migrants and asylum seekers after £1.3 million provided by the previous Labour administration was stopped.
Schools minister Maureen Watt defended the amount of funding provided under an agreement signed last year which allows authorities more responsibility for running services. She said: "Over the next three years, the amount of money given to local authorities has increased by 13% and local authorities have told us that the amount they have been given is enough to resource education, develop skills teachers need to enable them to teach EAL."
Mother Tongue is broadcast at 9.05am tomorrow on Radio Scotland