Communities face profound change through immigration

April 10, 2005

The impact of the highest levels of immigration in our history is not only being felt in London but is also having a profound effect on the make up of a number of other key British cities says a new report out today.
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Independent think tank Migrationwatch published a paper in February which focused on the effects of population movements between London and other regions in the South half of England and Wales.[1] This showed that in the decade to 2002, 606,000 more Londoners moved out of the city than came in from elsewhere in the UK, while in the same period a net 726,000 immigrants arrived in the city.

Now the group has examined the situation in three other key areas of the country, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

It finds that the effects are broadly similar in these areas, although not on such a large scale. It concludes that the reasons are different, and in the case of the Midlands and North, one of the key factors driving the change - transcontinental arranged marriages - is not being tackled by the Government.

‘Our report demonstrates conclusively that it is now not only London which is seeing substantial numbers of people leaving to be replaced by immigrant populations, this is also occurring in several Northern cities,’ said Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of Migrationwatch.

‘The reasons however are different,’ he said. ‘In London economic migration plays a larger part. In the North the main factor is so called ‘chain migration’ (whereby immigrants sponsor relatives or partners who then sponsor further relatives or partners). If we are to avoid exacerbating what the Government’s own Cohesion Panel has called ’parallel lives’, serious and urgent measures are needed.’

Sir Andrew said that while the Government claimed to have made proposals to deal with ‘chain migration’, they had failed to deal with the most important factor – transcontinental arranged marriages.

The report analysed the impact of chain migration on three English cities, Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford. It compared census data from 1991 and 2001 which showed that while the white population of these cities has significantly declined there has been a rapid increase in the Pakistani population of between 45.8% and 52.8%. The smaller Bangladeshi population has also seen large increases.

‘A major factor is the high rate of marriage to partners on the Indian Sub Continent which we estimate at 50-70%. This substantially increases the rate of household formation and, certainly in the first generation, the size of families. It can no longer be ignored,’ said Sir Andrew.

‘As the Government’s own Cohesion Panel put it in July 2004 when discussing the scale and pace of changes to communities generally: “… there are other concerns about the speed at which newcomers can be accommodated. Housing, education, health and other services all take time to expand. But people also take time to adjust. The identity of the host community will be challenged and they need sufficient time to come to terms with and accommodate incoming groups, regardless of their ethnic origin. The ‘pace of change’ (for a variety of reasons) is simply too great in some areas at present.”

‘Everyone recognises these are sensitive issues that need handling with care but it is no good putting forward proposals which fail to tackle the fundamental issue,’ he said.

1. See News desk February 10, 2005 'Knock on' effect of immigration on the regions

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