MPs launched a report today into how the UK’s immigration system could more effectively promote integration.
The All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration (a cross-party group of MPs and peers) is calling for:
- The Government to look at introducing a regional immigration system based on the Canadian model;
- Immigrants to be required to learn English before coming to live in the UK, or be enrolled in compulsory classes when they arrive;
- A new national Government strategy for the integration of immigrants that includes access to jobs, awareness of the UK’s laws, traditions and culture;
- MPs to recognise that integration is a two way street requiring action on the part of newcomers and host communities.
The report follows five months of visits to communities where immigration has increased rapidly over recent years, and hearings from experts on the issue. The group has also drawn on the work of The Challenge, which is providing the Secretariat to the APPG.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the report, Chuka Umunna MP, chair of the APPG on Social Integration, said:
“It’s clear that immigration has impacted on different communities in different ways and the pace of change has alarmed many. The Government has a duty to address the lack of integration of immigrants if it is to address this. Failing to do so has left a vacuum for extremists and peddlers of hate to exploit.
“We now need a meaningful integration programme which works for all parts of the UK and an immigration policy which allows all to celebrate and look beyond our differences.”
“In the wake of the Brexit vote, we must develop a new approach to immigration which works for everyone in our country and helps us rebuild a divided nation - a system with integration at its heart.”
Jon Yates, a Director of The Challenge, said:
“Since 2004, we have seen the largest single wave of immigration that Britain has ever experienced. We have seen limited proactive government policies to support this kind of extraordinary, rapid social change, which has transformed many communities across the UK and left them feeling insecure and increasingly divided.
“I hope the Government will consider seriously the recommendations in this report. It is no longer enough to focus solely on the numbers of immigrants arriving in the UK, while ignoring what happens to them and their host communities after arrival.”
The launch of the report has been widely reported in the media; take a look at the pieces on The Guardian, Sky News and The Huffington Post websites, which mention role of The Challenge. For further information you can also read the report here and have a look at the APPG's website.