Bristol City Council has developed a new resource for economic migrants moving to Bristol. Based on UWE research with migrants coming from 15 EU countries, a welcome pack has been produced to help individuals find work and settle in the UK. Their top tips plus other important information has been incorporated into the pack which is available in 10 languages on the BCC Ways2Work website.
The Ways2Work website delivers a wide range of support to Bristol residents. Working with partners across Bristol and the West of England it delivers job fairs, circulates information but, most importantly, it links together the various support agencies, colleges and employers in the area to help residents of Bristol secure employment.
The welcome pack links economic migrants into the Ways2Work website and is an excellent resource for use by community groups, advice centres and other stakeholders working with economic migrants. It will be of use with individuals who are looking to work and settle in Bristol and who wish to enjoy all that Bristol has to offer whilst integrating into the community.
The pack is translated into French, Panjabi, Bengali, Urdu, Kurdish, Mandarin, Polish, Somali, Filipino and Arabic.
Testing the pack
The welcome pack was developed with the help of members of the Bristol ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Network. These are people involved in the delivery of English classes and who work closely with economic migrants and refugees. Their insight was pivotal to ensure that the pack was easy to read and contains the information that migrants need.
All of the information is extremely useful – nothing should be taken out. Of particular interest was the housing information (she clicked through The City Council pages about housing and found useful information regarding housing and benefits) and the free, family activities that are available (she has a child) as well as general cultural and leisure information (She felt the language was clear and accessible, she understood most of it and commented that the text contains ‘simple words).
For further information about the pack please contact – email@example.com
The welcome pack developed from a piece of research commissioned by BCC from UWE in 2015. The research looked into the experiences of recent economic migrants and their motivations, needs and strategies. The research discovered a lot about economic migrants including the importance of learning English, that many use the internet to find work and that many preferred to take low paid jobs as opposed to claiming benefits. The research also captured the many and varied reasons why people become economic migrants.
The research states that “Providing accessible key information is vital to migrants’ personal wellbeing e.g. how to call the police, where to find A and E services, the requirement and processes involved with registering for a GP, where to find ESOL classes, where the Job Centre is located. Other, less tangible benefits include a sense of agency and empowerment for migrants who might otherwise be overly dependent upon others for guidance and/or be reliant upon ill-informed advice.”
The research also explored the attitudes of Bristol residents to economic migrants and discovered that although people often overestimate the numbers of economic migrants the attitude on the whole was positive. Reasons given were that they bring skills, do jobs that no one else want to do, work hard and pay taxes. Concerns were that they put more pressure on housing, claim benefits and do not integrate.
The research told us that economic migrant vary greatly in their level of education and work experience. It highlights the need to recognise the term ‘economic migrant’ as encompassing a wide range of migrants with varied motives, skills and experiences. Some come for work but some also come for cultural factors and new experiences.