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East-Europeans move West: largest immigration wave ever?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 06:30 pm
When ten new Member States joined the EU in 2004, the UK, Ireland and Sweden were the only countries that fully opened their borders immediately. This year, when Bulgaria and Romania joined, more countries followed suit.

But in the UK, especially, debate has meanwhile erupted about the impact that immigration from the new Member States has had. The British Office for National Statistics has dubbed it "the largest single wave of foreign in-movement ever experienced by the UK". An April 2007 Reuters report noted that "nearly 600,000 eastern Europeans have come to work in Britain" since 2004, "dwarf[ing] the 15,000 arrivals the government expected each year".

Amidst the furor over Muslim immigrants, this is nevertheless an emigration wave that has attracted relatively little attention. The reports that do appear, meanwhile, often seem to echo the experiences - and responses - from back when "guest workers" from the Mediterranean first arrived in Western Europe. Will the same dilemmas and challenges surface over time? Or is this different?

Have governments learned some things about how to deal with a sudden wave of labour immigration since back then, or are the same mistakes being made? Or is the comparison simply irrelevant, because the cultural differences between the countries of destination and origin are less large? Will these immigrants stay, or return over time? Is this migration wave a success story of hardworking Poles benefiting "Old Europe" economies? Or is a large share of them forming a new, exploited and ignored underclass, like the Turks once were?

Et cetera. I thought the subject was worth a thread of its own.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 14,979 • Replies: 25
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 06:44 pm
Some background. Interesting stuff. Not to bias the discussion, but the top one is recommended, a Gunter Wallraff-type shocker from earlier this year.

Quote:
Joining the immigrant underclass

BBC News
25 April 2007

Summary:

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.


Quote:
East Europeans reach the parts others can't

The Guardian
October 12, 2007

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Migrant workers: What we know

BBC News
21 August 2007

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Migrants' road to UK integration

BBC News
29 May 2007

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Multi-cultural world of migration

BBC News
29 May 2007

Summary:

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."


Quote:
So you're Polish and want a job...

BBC News
25 September 2006

Summary:

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.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Nov, 2007 08:48 pm
This post has really brightened my day, since other countries are finally sharing the human wave of East European immigrants.

Enjoy!
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 08:52 am
Quote:
Schools facing influx of Poles
Expatica
24 September 2007

Summary:

Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Nov, 2007 09:49 am
The journey West is not without perils:

Quote:
How tide turned on 'flood of migrants'
Guardian
2004-07-08

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Polish labourers kept in Italian 'prison camp'
The Guardian
2006-07-20

Summary:

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.


Quote:
EU migrants swell homeless numbers
The Guardian
2006-09-02

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Polish 'slave' labourers feared murdered
The Guardian
2006-09-13

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Polish migrants flee violent Britain
The Observer
2007-10-07

Summary:

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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 05:18 pm
But there are stories that put some sweet into the bittersweet as well. Take this in-depth reportage on the travails of a Latvian emigrant to Ireland - happy end included, if truly at the last minute:

Quote:
East-to-West Migration Remaking Europe
Washington Post
2005-11-28

Summary:

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.


Other samples of bittersweet:

Quote:
Loyalists make Catholic Poles welcome
The Observer
2007-02-18

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Hundreds of Gypsies Left Romania for Turin, Italy
2007-02-26 · Dzeno Association

Summary:

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."
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 07:36 pm
Good, in-depth reporting from BIRN:

Quote:

Summary:

Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 Nov, 2007 07:42 pm
At an Irish web site i often visit, they have complained about the Eastern Europeans, but only in terms of personal hygiene and social behavior. Apparently, none of the people who post there fear for their jobs, so they don't seem to have objected on that basis. Most of them are techies of one sort or the other, so it is likely that the Eastern Europeans whom they have encountered are at the least technologically well-educated. Ireland, though, has few large-scale industrial concerns where those people would compete for lower-wage jobs, and agriculture is still largely in the hands of independent small holders. I would be interested to know if the Irish are getting worked up over this.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 6 Dec, 2007 08:24 pm
Yet more background from the archive:

Quote:
East Europeans Crowd Through Britain's Wide-Open Door
The New York Times
2005-10-23

Summary:

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.


Quote:
UK receives more than 400,000 migrants
The Guardian
2006-08-22

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Migrating workers leave big gap in the East
EurActiv
2006-09-29

Summary:

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.


Quote:
East to west EU migration not slowing down
EU Observer
2007-01-04

Summary:

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.


Quote:
Italian Politician Calls for Imposing Visa on Bulgarians and Romanians
2007-06-14 · News.bg

Summary:

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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Dec, 2007 05:33 pm
Most of the above stories focused on the impact and fate of the East-European immigrants in the UK. The UK was after all one of the three countries (along with Ireland and Sweden) that offered unlimited access to citizens of the new member states back in 2004. The result was an unparallelled migration flow to the UK and Ireland, while other EU countries kept the door shut for now, or opened it only at a crack.

But we're a couple of years on now, and new dynamics have emerged. This year, Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. This time, Britain kept its doors shut for immigrants from those new countries, while other countries opened their borders. So the issues related to the large-scale migration from East to West are emerging elsewhere.

Moroever, there are some differences in nuance in the immigration flow from the new countries. For one, many Roma from Romania and Bulgaria have come to the "old" EU member states, particularly Italy.

They are of a very different social profile than the Polish immigrants in the UK. While Polish emigrants are often relatively high-educated, skilled workers, and come from relatively stable backgrounds, the Roma emigrating from a country like Romania represent a sharply impoverished, marginalised population group that has faced generations of abandonment, discrimination and grinding poverty. As a result, a range of social problems abound among them, including troubled personal and family backgrounds, a lack of even basic education and skills, and a general attitude of doing whatever it takes to survive.

In Italian cities, this has resulted in a kind of shantytown ghettoes on the edges of town, just like you have in the countries of origin. And Italians have reacted badly to the crime that flourishes there. Both Romanians and Roma in particular are blamed and resented even for things they have nothing do with, and have in turn become victims of racist attacks.

OK, that's the background of what happened last month. An Italian woman was brutally raped and murdered by a Romanian of Roma backgrounds, and soon a national and even EU-level crisis developed. Read on:

Quote:

Short version:

Quote:


---------------------------------------------------


Short version:

Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2007 10:41 am
nimh wrote:
Quote:

A follow up on this story:

Quote:
Italian Senate backs deportation

BBC News
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.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 17 Dec, 2007 11:49 am
<reading along>
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 01:49 pm
hey osso Smile
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Dec, 2007 01:50 pm
Don't forget: it's not all one-way, either!

Quote:
Brits abroad: They come over here...
The Independent
2006-08-26

Summary:

Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 04:57 pm
The migration wave of East-Europeans to Britain is posing some problematic challenges for the authorities there. There's a lot of sides to the situation, and the available data is often contradictory, as this report shows (click on the headline):

Quote:
Police want more details on migrants

BBC News
18 April 2008

Here's a brief summary:

Quote:
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.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 05:09 pm
Meanwhile, this local, admittedly rather sensationalist, Glaswegian news story reports on the darker sides of the circumstances that East European migrants to the West face. Roma immigrants, in particular, involve an added set of complications.

Quote:


Summary:

Quote:
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".


A sidebar to the story portrayed the living conditions of another Roma family. Many East European immigrants will have faced exploitation by unscrupulous landlords.

On the other hand, it's also important not to sweep the immigrants from the new Member States together in one group; there are huge differences between them. The situation of many Roma immigrants in particular poses its own challenges. For one, a problem in uncovering exploitation like this is that for many Roma, conditions back home were even worse, so they are reluctant to speak up.

Quote:
£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."
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2008 05:24 pm
Foofie wrote:
This post has really brightened my day, since other countries are finally sharing the human wave of East European immigrants.

Enjoy!


... no comment...

nimh, great pooling of resources, as always!
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2008 06:43 pm
dagmaraka wrote:
Foofie wrote:
This post has really brightened my day, since other countries are finally sharing the human wave of East European immigrants.

Enjoy!


... 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?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2008 06:47 pm
Foofie wrote:
Is it my imagination or do more East European immigrants smoke, than the general U.S. population?

No, it's true. Havent looked it up or anything, but I guess they smoke about as much here as they did in Western Europe ten years ago and in the US twenty years ago...
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 08:35 am
Quote:
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
0 Replies
 
 

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