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Migration and Migrants and Child Poverty in London Jill Rutter.

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Presentation on theme: "Migration and Migrants and Child Poverty in London Jill Rutter."— Presentation transcript:

1 Migration and Migrants and Child Poverty in London Jill Rutter

2 Who are migrants? 35% of London’s population is born overseas. Migrants include: EU labour migrants pre-2004 member states: EU labour migrants from states joining after 2004: main countries of origin are Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria EU onward migrants: Congolese and Tamils from France, Somalis from Netherlands Work visa migrants. Big drop in numbers since ,000 Tier 2 work visas granted in 2011, accompanied by 42,000 dependents

3 Migration flows into UK: work visa migration Non-EU students – 237,000 out-of-country visas granted in 2011, with 24,000 dependents Family formation and reunion visas – 46,000 visas granted in 2011 ‘Returning’ UK nationals and those with ancestry visas. An estimated 77,000 UK nationals ‘returned’ to UK in Access to benefits, NHS and housing depends on previous residence in UK, even for UK nationals.

4 Who are migrants? Asylum-seekers, 19,800 applications in 2011, back to early 1990s low. Main countries of origin now Pakistan, Iran and Sri Lanka. More asylum applications from Libya and Syria. Dispersal out of London and SE, but not everyone opts for dispersal Asylum decisions in 2011: 25% granted refugee status, 8% humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to remain and 67% refused on initial application UASC applications down to 1,398 in 2011, but some evidence that young Afghans are not applying for asylum. Return programme for s may further discourage asylum applications. Proportions appealing down, but 26% of appeals upheld in 2011.

5 Who are migrants? Irregular or undocumented migrants Estimates based on 2007 population data suggest between 373,000 and 719,000 irregular migrants in UK Same research suggests 104,000 – 216,000 undocumented children of whom 55% UK born 88% of irregular migrants thought to be in London An estimated 70, ,000 undocumented children in London in 2007, out of 1.7 million children in London 6% of capital’s children are undocumented Since 2007, we have had the asylum legacy programme. Some evidence of return of some populations of irregular migrants – the ‘adventurers’. But many unresolved asylum legacy cases

6 Who is at risk of poverty? Undocumented children. Irregular migrants survive by working in the formal economy with cloned identities or false documents, or working in the informal economy and often relying on compatriots for work. Intense poverty usually compounded by poor and insecure housing. Limited scope for regularisation through Article 8 (right to family life). Shortage of good lawyers to help make claims. ‘Those without recourse to public funds’ Primary school access usually unproblematic, but secondary school access and GP registration can present problems for those without papers. Access to free school meals and free early education for 2 year olds determined through HMRC checker and will exclude many undocumented children. Many undocumented children not aware of the absence of any legal immigration status until they try to enrol at college at 18 or someone in their family is charged with a crime.

7 One story My little girl, me and my husband are just staying in one room. Someone asks me ‘just cover this job for me, at the end of the week I will pay you £40, I will pay you like £60’. That is how I have been surviving. It is hell, I know what I am talking about. It’s getting harder by the day, harder by the day. Because what I learn here, when you have kids here, kids come first – in all parts of Europe. But when you don’t have the right to stay, it’s difficult to give your children things that everyone else has. Undocumented migrant from Nigeria, interviewed in London

8 Who is at risk of poverty? Children of low-paid migrant workers – in work poor- whose parents are employed in low paid jobs, for example in care sector. In work poverty often compounded by poor housing in private rental sector. Average gross hourly pay for Poland born population £7.10 in 2011 Unemployed overseas-born population. Employment rate for those born abroad (66.4% Q4 2011) is lower than UK-born population (71.3%). Refugee groups and those who have come to UK though family migration routes are more likely to be unemployed. Just 47.6% of population born in Bangladesh were employed in Q For those born in Somalia figure was 20.4% In recessions minority ethnic populations tend to be more badly affected by unemployment.

9 Who is at risk of poverty? Asylum-seeking families in receipt of subsistence from UK Border Agency. About 6,000 families with children, although many outside London. Adult support = 70% of adult income support levels. Asylum support levels have not kept up with inflation Families supporting destitute co-nationals

10 Causes of child poverty in migrants are complex Many causes of poverty are same among migrants as non-migrants – so solutions will be similar Unemployment Low pay Benefits ‘cliff-edge’ in London Some causes of poverty are different in migrant communities Irregular migration status Asylum support levels Immigration status determining entitlement to mainstream benefits and social housing Occupational segregation in low paid jobs Remittance obligations Family/community obligations towards fellow migrants in UK Lack of knowledge of in-work benefits Loss of support networks Fewer ‘accumulated’ goods Greater informal sector and illegal working without protection of NMW Risk of exploitation in some forms of work

11 The elephant in the room Does migration cause poverty? Little evidence of migrants taking jobs – most work in sectors of the economy with high levels of vacancies But some evidence to show wage depression among the lowest earners. Solutions: Living wage and enforcement of National Minimum Wage

12 Solutions Attitudes about migration and about poverty limit the space for positive changes Perceptions about poverty Attitudes are hardening: the poor are responsible for their condition Perceptions about immigration Public hostility high in UK. 20% pro-migrants’ rights, but about 80% think there is too much immigration. 20% support a total ban on immigration Perception that migrants cause poverty by taking jobs and housing and undercutting wages Low income groups, less educated, those in insecure housing and work more likely to have hostile attitudes to migrants Is hostility to migrants a symptom of insecurity?

13 Solutions Make links with groups working on anti-poverty issues in local area – campaign together Campaign on Living Wage – more local authorities could follow Southwark and Lewisham and make it an obligation of those tendering for contracts. Lobby local authority to enforce housing regulation in relation to private rental accommodation Work to bring about changes in attitudes to migrant Keep undocumented children on agenda of staff/professional meetings – they exist! Free school dinners to all primary schools Find out about local groups that provide support for destitute migrants, for example, British Red Cross. Find out about good lawyers and sources of advice in your locality Ensure that child poverty strategies acknowledge specific needs of migrants


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