The-Nature-&-Needs-of-Migrant-workers-in-Hampshire

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					Hampshire Strategic Partnership Report on the Nature & Needs of Migrant workers in Hampshire
Date of meeting: 18th September 2007 Report by: Jane Goodwin – Equality & Diversity Manager 1. 1.1 Introduction This report aims to summarise the key points raised at the seminar, compare the experiences of other authorities in Rural England and identify steps to be taken by the Hampshire Strategic Partnership that will contribute to improved community relations. Background During the past 2 years an increasing number of local organisations have been expressing an interest to understand more about the nature and needs of recently arrived migrant workers mainly from the Eastern European communities. There have been a number of research projects carried out across the UK most notably in Lincolnshire which has historically seen many workers coming to the area for seasonal agricultural work. In January 2007 the Audit Commission published their report „Crossing Borders‟ which is the result of research undertaken across a number of authorities. The report highlights that migration for work has made ethnic diversity a significant issue in some areas for the first time. The Commission for Rural Communities published a briefing paper in January 2007 This paper examines migration of workers from the „accession eight‟ (A8) countries into rural areas of England since May 2004. It provides an evidence base on the current numbers of the A8 migrant workers in rural areas and the impact this is having on rural economies and communities. More locally we had some anecdotal evidence e.g. significant numbers of Polish people have moved into Southampton and are taken by bus to various work locations across Hampshire. Hampshire County Council has actively recruited nurses from India and other care staff from Eastern European countries. The Equality and Diversity group of the County Council highlighted the need to undertake some focussed work in this area and together with the market research manager began to scope the project. A network of offices from other public bodies also expressed interest and a small group began to develop a scope for a joint research project. The partners involved were Southampton City Council, Isle of Wight Council, Hampshire Constabulary. It became apparent that a number of others are actively working on this issue and it was decided that, initially, the most appropriate approach would be to hold an „Information Sharing‟ seminar. Support was sought from the Hampshire Strategic Partnership and the event was organised by Community Action Hampshire and the County Council on May 22 nd 2007. 1

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The Migrant Worker Seminar About 90 people attended from a range of public sector and voluntary organisations. The aims of the seminar were:  To share current understanding of the nature and needs of people from the EU accession states living and working in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight economic area  To identify joint action to improve engagement with and support for people from the new communities Presentations by:     Gill Green, author of „Crossing Borders‟ research for the Audit Commission Peter Dean, Chief Executive of Hampshire Economic Partnership on the benefit to the economy Diana Wooldridge of Winchester Area Community Action on the experiences of the voluntary sector Simon Winkworth and Tony Pascoe of Southampton City Council on the Southampton experience

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Key points arising from the seminar • Economic migration is of great benefit to the local economy and will become increasingly important as the current profile of the community shows that the need for labour will increase as the pool of people available for work reduces Companies report that the migrant workers are hard working, highly skilled and efficient Currently Southampton has seen the biggest rise in numbers of migrant workers mostly from Poland, this is above the SE average 4% of workforce are migrants in Basingstoke and Portsmouth 7-8% of workforce are migrants in Southampton and Rushmoor Many of the workers who live in Southampton & Portsmouth are taken by bus to work in other parts of the County. Three primary sectors utilizing migrant labour are, Agriculture, Construction and Hospitality. These sectors are characterised by low income jobs and suffer from a lack of local labour The typical migrant worker profile is single, male, aged 25-35, overqualified and supporting family back home. Data is available from the Workers Registration Scheme and application for National Insurance. It doesn‟t capture all but can be seen as a measure of trends. It is possible to obtain data from these systems but access is restricted due to the number of requests 2

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Overall advice is for organisations to work together to understand and build links, pool information and respond jointly as demonstrated by the following diagram

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Current activity • • • The public sector has recruited overseas workers e.g. Hampshire County Council has recruited nurses from India and care workers from Eastern Europe Southampton City Council has expertise in the New Communities Team, they have a strategy, have undertaken local research and support a voluntary group “EU Welcome” to work directly with the migrant communities Test Valley Borough Council held a successful information event for migrant workers and plan to hold another based on the information received. They involved some Polish people in the planning the event which resulted in a good attendance. Churches play a key role in advising and supporting many workers. Eastleigh Borough Council have commissioned “EU Welcome” to do some work for them and they are also planning a local meeting for migrant workers to find out about their needs The South East Strategic Partnership for Migration based in Portsmouth is developing a role to coordinate information, research and data for public bodies across the region

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Key findings from other UK research The key feature of these and many other pieces of work across the Country is that partners need to work together to identify local solutions. This means sharing resources and building on existing good practice. Action has already started in Southampton and Test Valley whilst Eastleigh and Winchester are actively developing their approach. These are being led by the Local Strategic Partnership and there are actions which the Hampshire wide Strategic Partnership should consider to support these initiatives. See appendix 1 for some details from the National research Priority areas for action: The following issues were identified for further action: 3

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Improved communication on subjects such as: o Workers Registration Scheme, obtaining national insurance, conversion of qualifications, health and education services, health & safety, local customs, e.g. what to put in rubbish bins, recycling More flexible and accessible provision of English courses (ESOL) e.g. work based courses. There is a concern that the Learning Skills Council is reducing funding for such courses Improved understanding of the future housing needs In addition the following points were raised during discussion in the workshops.

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There is anecdotal evidence that there are workers who are not registered, living in unsuitable housing and being exploited. It is unclear whether this is also linked to issues around „people trafficking‟ as in other parts of the Country. HEP research reports general positive views of local employers but there is a need to obtain more information about their experiences, how they support their workers and also the views of the migrant workforce. Public services need to understand better the future demands on their services – there is an indication that some research is about to take place on these issues for the south east region.

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Recommendations A number of priorities for action by specific agencies/partners were identified as follows: Hampshire Strategic Partnership  To ensure that the implications of migrant workers are reflected in the Hampshire Sustainable Community Strategy set strategic vision through

District Local Strategic Partnerships to consider   Local activity such as the Test Valley & Eastleigh events Support expansion of work of “EU Welcome” to other areas of County - this would require funding as they are currently funded solely by Southampton City Council

Learning & Skills Council to consider  Mapping of ESOL provision in order to establish a clear picture regarding funding

Hampshire Economic Partnership to consider  Developing further relationship with local employers and employment agencies to find out more about their experience of employing migrant workers, what 4

they are doing to support their integration, find out from the workers themselves what their needs and aspirations are. All Partners to consider a joint approach to  Find out more information about the more informal migration of workers e.g. those brought over by gangmasters. This could be achieved by grassroots peer research which is a longer term approach as shown through the Lincolnshire approach.

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