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Migrant Workers In Mendip

VIEWS: 14 PAGES: 40

									Migrant Workers In Mendip

       A Mendip District Council

 Scrutiny Task and Finish Group Report
1.0 Introduction

In May 2008 a Scrutiny Task and Finish Group was set up by Mendip District Council to
investigate migrant workers in the District. The terms of reference for the group was as
follows:

      To review the impact of migrant workers on employment, public services and the
       local community.
      To assess whether Mendip District Council provides migrant workers with access
       to suitable services to meet their needs.

Mendip District Council wants to respond positively to the challenges provided by new
migrant workers and to assess the impact of migrant workers on its services so that it
can review future resource implications and assess how best to use resources most
effectively.

It was recognised that some of the needs of migrant workers might not be directly
provided by the District Council and as a consequence some multi-agency support
might be required as a result of the research carried out.

The project brief was taken to the June 2008 Scrutiny Board and approved. The group
has been led by Councillor Philip Ham, supported by three other Scrutiny Board
members: Councillor Claire Fleming, Councillor Philip Whitmarsh and Councillor Jim
Barron. A copy of the complete project brief can be seen on Appendix A


2.0 Study Methodology
The report draws on the following main sources of evidence to provide a picture of
migrants and their needs within the District:

      desk-based reviews of available literature, polices and strategies at a national
       and local level,
      statistical analysis of available data,
      interviews and focus groups with a range of stakeholders and local migrant
       residents,
      local knowledge of council members,
      survey results from employers and employment agencies
      Citizens Advice Bureau information
      Feedback from local schools
      Feedback from local doctors


3.0 Getting the Picture

3.1 National statistical data
There is a variety of national data that can be used to get a picture of migrant workers
coming into the District. This includes National Insurance data1 and Workers
Registration Scheme data2. Much of the national statistical data available is over three
years old and consequently, due to the large influx of migrant workers from Eastern
Europe in recent years, fails to present a particularly accurate picture of migrants within
the UK. Both the Census of Population in 20013 and Mid-2007 Population Estimates4
are examples of this.

The 2001 Census indicated that the overwhelming majority of the population within
Mendip classified themselves as of white British background. The representation of
those from ethnic minority cultures and backgrounds was 1.2% of the total population
(compared to a national average of 8.7%, with very small numbers of individuals from
Asian, Black African, Black Caribbean, and Chinese background.

The National Statistics Office‟s Mid-2007 Population Estimates & Mid-2006 Ethnicity
Estimates indicated that Mendip‟s population in 2007 had reached 109,000. The
ethnicity estimates produced accompanying this indicated that with a population of
108,300, 93.6% considered themselves to be white, British. This is a reduction on the
2001 census where 96.4% of the population were recorded in this category.
Table 1

                                                                                                            %
                                                                                                      Chinese
                                                         % White:              % Asian     % Black    or Other
                        Total   % White:    % White:   Non British             or Asian    or Black     Ethnic
                   Population     British      Irish      or Irish   % Mixed     British    British     Group
    Mendip (06)      108,300      93.6%        0.6%          2.5%       0.9%      1.0%        0.6%       0.6%
    South West
           (06)     5,124,100     92.6%        0.7%          2.4%       1.1%      1.4%        0.9%       0.9%
    England (06)   50,762,900     84.2%        1.1%          3.3%       1.6%      5.5%        2.8%       1.4%


    Mendip (01)      104,000      96.4%        0.6%          1.8%       0.5%      0.2%        0.2%       0.3%


Table 1 above gives a comparison of the ethnic groups and shows the differences over
the five year period. Although the overall figures may not seem large, it is the rate of
change that is surprising, especially when compared with the rate of change across the
South West and also across England. As detailed below in Table 2 the rate of change in
Mendip District has outstripped both of these in the non-white category and is ahead of
the overall English change.

Table 2



1. National Insurance Numbers (NINOs): This covers all non-UK citizens working in the UK, though it
does not include dependents and does not require workers to de-register. Consequently its primary use
is to measure inflows and general trends. It is based on where people live. National, regional and local
data can be found at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/tabtool.asp
2
  Worker Registration Scheme (WRS):This covers A8 migration only and was introduced when the A8
states joined the EU in May 2004. Some workers are exempt from registering, including the self-
employed and workers are not required to de-register. The data records where migrants first work when
they come to the UK rather than where they live. Quarterly national and postal region data from:
http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/reports/accession_monitoring_report/
3
    Census 2001, Office of National Statistics
4
    Mid-2007 Population Estimates & Mid-2006 Ethnicity Estimates, Office of National Statistics
                                                  White: British &        White: Non British or
                      % Change            Total               Irish                        Irish        Non-White
                        Mendip            +4%                  +1%                        +42%             +192%
                South West                +4%                  +1%                        +50%              +90%
                       England            +3%                  -1%                        +27%              +26%


 3.2 Overseas Nationals National Insurance Allocations
If someone arrives from overseas and either wants to work or claim benefits they must
apply for a National Insurance number. The data available from the government runs up
to 2007/2008 but has some limitations in accuracy if we are looking for a current picture
since changes from April cannot be mapped. It does however give a good indication on
the numbers of migrant workers from the Mendip area who registered over the period of
time and whether these numbers are increasing.


                             NI registrations to Adult Overseas Nationals
                                            Entering the UK
    Nos (Thousands)




                      1.20
                      1.00
                      0.80                                                                                2002/03
                      0.60
                      0.40                                                                                2003/04
                      0.20
                      0.00                                                                                2004/05
                                                                                Taunton
                                                  Sedgemoor
                                 Mendip




                                                               Somerset




                                                                                             Somerset
                                                                                 Deane




                                                                                                          2005/06
                                                                South




                                                                                               West



                                                                                                          2006/07
                                                                                                          2007/08
                                                              District
                                                                                                                    Fig 1

It can be seen across all districts in Somerset that the number of migrants has
increased considerably since 2002. This however should be viewed with the recognition
that figures in Mendip peaked at 655 in 2006/7 compared to an overall arrival rate into
the UK of 705,840 that year. Perhaps more critical is the consideration of the number of
arrivals per 1000 of population in the District. In a Community Cohesion and Migration
report5 to parliament in June 2008 Mendip was cited as one of the top 20% of Districts
in this area of measure.

Last year‟s figures show a drop to 550, but this is repeated across the county.
As stated previously, these numbers need to be considered in comparison with the
national and South West picture over this period.




5
 House of Commons, Communities and Local Government Committee - Community Cohesion and
Migration report - Tenth Report of Session 2007–08
         800.00
         700.00
         600.00
         500.00
                                                         All
   Nos



         400.00
                                                         South West
         300.00
         200.00                                          Mendip
         100.00
           0.00
                   3


                   4


                   5


                   6


                   7


                   8
                 /0


                 /0


                 /0


                 /0


                 /0


                 /0
               02


               03


               04


               05


               06


               07
            20


            20


            20


            20


            20


            20
                             Year
                                                                      Fig 2

In the peak year of 2006/07 the breakdown of the country of origin of migrants entering
Mendip showed 25 different nationalities being represented. This number was similar in
the previous year at 24 and in 2007/08 it was 20.

The key nationalities represented in the NI registration in the past three years have
been Poland, Portugal, India, Philippines, Slovak Republic, Lithuania, Australia and the
USA. Poland and Portugal have the highest representation, which is not unexpected as
both groups already have strong communities in this area. 2007/08 saw the Philippines
yet again being one of third highest represented and this can be attributed to their
strong representation in the care sector. This is also why Indian national are showing
up in the area.

Across Somerset there is some variation in nationalities with Poland being well
represented across the county along with the Slovak Republic and people from the
Philippines. Portuguese nationals are found in greater numbers in Mendip, Taunton and
Sedgemoor than in the other two districts and Lithuanian migrants are seen in greater
numbers to the west of the county. (See appendix B for graphical comparisons).

What is interesting to note is that the incoming numbers of non EU entrants to the
country have not altered noticeably in recent years even though the EU Accession
countries have shown a considerable increase since 2004.
                                                          Breakdown of NI registrations in Mendip for 2006/7                                                      Poland
                                                                                                                                                                  India
                                                                                                                                                                  Slovak Rep
                                                                                                                                                                  Australia
                          400                                                                                                                                     Lithuania
                                                                                                                                                                  France
                                340
                                                                                                                                                                  South Africa
                          350
                                                                                                                                                                  Germany
                                                                                                                                                                  China
                          300                                                                                                                                     Italy
                                                                                                                                                                  Czech Rep
Number of registrations




                          250
                                                                                                                                                                   Latvia
                                                                                                                                                                  Portugal
                                                                                                                                                                  Spain
                          200                                                                                                                                     USA
                                                                                                                                                                  Rep of Ireland
                          150                                                                                                                                     Philippines
                                                                                                                                                                  New Zealand
                                                                                                                                                                  Canada
                          100
                                                                                                                                                                  Brazil
                                                                                                                                                                  Romania
                          50                                                                                                                                      Thailand
                                                                                              30
                                      20   20   20                                                         20        20                                           Bulgaria
                                                     10   10   10   10   10   10   10   10            10        10        10   10   10   10   10   10   10   10
                                                                                                                                                                  Mauritius
                           0
                                                                                             Mendip
                                                                                                                                                                  Estonia




                                                                                                                                                                                   Fig 3

3.3 Workers Registration Scheme
On the 1st May 2004 the EU admitted additional countries. Those joining were Cyprus,
the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and
Slovenia. At this time the UK Government implemented measures to regulate access to
the UK labour market via the Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) and to restrict
eligibility to benefits for these groups such that workers must have continuous
employment for twelve months before they can claim. Due to historic links to the UK,
Cyprus and Malta nationals were not included in these regulations. The remaining eight
countries have become known as the Accession 8 group (A8).

The data under this scheme is published every three months and so shows very recent
data compared to other Government statistics. There are some limitations with the data.
The scheme does not show net migration, its gives cumulative figures for workers
applying to the scheme. Although workers must re-register if they change employers,
they are only counted once to avoid double counting. A change of employment type will
not therefore be recorded. Additionally if an employee leaves employment they are not
required to de-register so it is difficult to get a picture of workers‟ movement out of the
country, or away from an employment type once they have registered.

It is estimated that as many as 30% of the initial WRS applicants were already living in
the UK before the 1st May 2004, with many Eastern Europeans having legally entered
under temporary entry schemes such as the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

When looking at the picture nationally it can be seen that the highest proportion of
applicants are Polish, followed by the Slovak Republic. This is not unexpected given
that Poland is the largest A8 country by population, accounting for 52% of the entire A8
population.
    4,500



    4,000



    3,500



    3,000
                                                                                                                                                                   April 06 to Jun 06
                                                                                                                                                                   Jul 06 to Sep 06
    2,500                                                                                                                                                          Oct 06 to Dec 06
                                                                                                                                                                   Jan 07 to March 07
                                                                                                                                                                   April 07 to Jun 07
    2,000                                                                                                                                                          July 07 to Sept 07
                                                                                                                                                                   Oct 07 to Dec 07
                                                                                                                                                                   Jan 08 to March 08
    1,500



    1,000



     500



       0




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                                   Fig 4 – WRS by Nationality in the South West


The picture across the South West over the last two years shows a pattern that mirrors
that in Mendip. Figure 4 gives a break down of the last two years in the South West and
further highlights the strength of representation of the polish community across the
region.



       400


       350


       300


       250
                                                                                                                                                         May 04 - March 06
                                                                                                                                                         April 06 - June 06
                                                                                                                                                         July 06 to Spetember 06
       200
                                                                                                                                                         October 2006 to Decmber 2006
                                                                                                                                                         January 2007 to March 2007
       150
                                                                                                                                                         April 07 to June 07
                                                                                                                                                         July 07 to September 07
       100
                                                                                                                                                         October 07 to December 07
                                                                                                                                                         January 08 to March 08
        50
                                                                                                                                                         April 08 to June 08

            0
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                                                Fig. 5 - WRS by Nationality in Mendip



Recent work by Equality South West confirms the reduction in WRS registrations since
2006 across the country but notes the local variations6. From a Mendip perspective it
was noted in the ESW report that Mendip was one of the few districts in the South West
to buck the trend of reduction of registrations in 2007, and the only council in Somerset.
6
    Equality South West Summary of Latest migration Data – October 2008
Neighbouring West Wiltshire saw a substantial decline in registrations. The data
provided on registration indicates that there is not a peak arrival time due to summer
seasonal work or harvesting in the Mendip District.



3.4 Pay Rates
The pay of workers, recorded since 2004, coming under the WRS scheme indicates that
salaries are not high for the majority of migrants in the District or indeed the County.
Moving the picture slightly wider to include Wiltshire and the more urban areas of Bristol
and Bath indicates that the profile is largely similar in Mendip and its neighbours.


        2,000

        1,800                                                                                                            Bath and North East Somerset
                                                                                                                         Bristol, City of
        1,600
                                                                                                                         Kennet
        1,400                                                                                                            Mendip
                                                                                                                         North Somerset
        1,200
                                                                                                                         North Wiltshire
  Nos




        1,000                                                                                                            Salisbury
                                                                                                                         Sedgemoor
         800                                                                                                             South Somerset
         600                                                                                                             Taunton Deane
                                                                                                                         West Somerset
         400                                                                                                             West Wiltshire
         200

           0
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                                                            Hourly rate (£)


                                    Fig 6.- Hourly Rates for WRS entrants into Wessex Region




At a county level there is a similar pattern but it is noticeable that there is a rapid drop in
numbers beyond the £8.00 per hour threshold, indicating that the bulk of the entrants
are in the unskilled sector.
           800

           700

           600
                                                                                                                                              Mendip
           500                                                                                                                                Sedgemoor
                                                                                                                                              South Somerset
     Nos




           400                                                                                                                                Taunton Deane
                                                                                                                                              West Somerset
           300

           200

           100

             0




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                                                                                Hourly rate (£)


                                                       Fig 7. Hourly Rates for WRS entrants in Somerset


Just viewing this matter from a Mendip perspective shows that 81% of entrants since
2004 have recorded their hourly rate as being between £4.50 and £6.00. A positive note
is that in 2007 18% of those registering had an hourly rate of over £6.00 and 5%
recorded as over £8.00 per hour. So far, in 2008, this has increased to 20% and 6%
respectively.

What this data is telling us is that the vast majority of migrant workers coming into the
area under the WRS scheme are working at the minimum wage level. Figures 7 released
by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate that the median hourly rate for
workers in Mendip in 2007 was £8.34 and the mean rate was £10.96. It is clear that
migrant hourly earning is well below that of English residents. In fact an interesting
comparison is that ONS data indicates that just under 18% of the all employees in
Mendip earned below the £6.00 rate per hour in 2007 whereas only 18% of migrants
under the WRS indicating they were earning over the £6.00 level.




7
    First Release: 2007 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings – ONS
                                      2%
                                                1%
                                   1%                1%
                                           1%
                                 2%
                          11%



                                                                            £2.99 or less
                                                                            £3.00 - £3.79
                                                                            £3.80 - £4.49
                                                                            £4.50 - £5.34
                                                                43%
                                                                            £5.35 - £5.99
                                                                            £6.00 - 7.99
                                                                            £8.00 - £9.99
                                                                            £10.00 - £11.99
                                                                            £12.00 +

                    38%




                          Fig 8 - Hourly Rates for WRS entrants in Mendip




3.5 Dependant accompanying WRS applicants
There have been a number of dependants arriving with workers. These „hidden‟
numbers impact on education and social services. For Mendip 341 dependants have
been registered under the scheme but conversations with voluntary groups, such as the
CAB indicate that many workers arrive alone and then bring dependants over at a later
stage. This means that the true figure of dependants is unclear from this data.
Information from school census data also fails to provide a District breakdown of
migrant dependants as it focuses on ethnic breakdown at a country level, which fails to
focus on migrant dependants and can include children from established Black and
Minority Ethnic groups.


3.6 What Industries are Migrants Working In?
The WRS data on industries that migrants enter does not present a clear picture from
which to draw conclusions. Anecdotal evidence is that migrants in Mendip are working
in local factories and on farms. When the WRS material is viewed this is not coming
across clearly. Health and Medical, Hospitality and Catering, Farming and Retail all
show good representation (see Fig. 9). One area that shows up strongly is
Administration, Business and Managerial. Sadly this is not making an accurate
representation of migrant opportunities as this sector is recorded where migrants
register with employment agencies and is not adjusted to show their final place of
employment.
                                      80

                                      70
                                                                                            March 04 - March 06
                                      60                                                    April 06 - Jun 06
                                      50                                                    July 06 - Sept 06
                                                                                            Oct 06 - Dec 06
                                      40                                                    Jan 07 - March 07
                                      30                                                    April 07 - June 07
                                                                                            July 07 - Sept 07
                                      20                                                    Oct 07 - Dec 07
                                      10                                                    Jan 08 - March 08

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                                               Fig 9 - WRS in Mendip by Industry
AD




3.7 Net Flow of Migration
There has been an awareness of migrant workers in the District for a number of years.
This has run in line with a view that migrant workers were more prevalent in adjoining
Districts such as South Somerset or West Wiltshire. The Government‟s migration
indicator data8 shows the amount of migration into and out of each local authority area
in England and Wales for the years mid-2001 to mid-2006. Figures presented show the
number of moves and the volume of movement per 1,000 population, both within the UK
and internationally. At a local level the migration into and out of the District, and the
adjacent Local Authorities, gives a picture of net gains, or losses, of migrant workers
over the time frame.




8
    Migration indicators for local authority areas in England & Wales, mid-2001 to mid-2006 – ONS
               1,200



               1,000
                                                                                                             Mendip
                                                                                                             Sedgemoor
                800                                                                                          South Somerset
                                                                                                             Taunton Deane
     Numbers




                600
                                                                                                             West Somerset
                                                                                                             Kennet
                                                                                                             North Wiltshire
                400
                                                                                                             Salisbury
                                                                                                             West Wiltshire
                200



                  0
                        In      Out   In        Out         In     Out        In    Out           In   Out


                        01/02               02/03                  03/04           04/05
                       05/06
                                                        In and Out per Year




                                           Fig 10 - International Migration Figures 2001 - 2006


Although the inward migration to Mendip may have been less than to other local
districts, the outward figure has been lower than its neighbours leaving it with a greater
overall annual gain that its neighbours.

3.8 A2 Registration
Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in January 2007. They are known as the A2
accession group. Currently Bulgarian and Romanian workers have much more limited
access to the UK labour market compared to other EU citizens, although the Sector
Based Scheme (SBS) and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Scheme (SAWS) are reserved
for Bulgarians and Romanians only. The numbers coming in under this scheme across
the country as a whole are small compared to the numbers coming in under the WRS
process.


3.8 Are the Records Accurate?
The data obtained indicates around 2200 migrants registering for National Insurance
between 2004 and 2008. Worker Registrations Scheme data shows in the region of
1700 registrations during this period.

These are figures for those individuals who are registered, but do not represent the
dependants accompanying these workers or those migrants who are „off the radar‟.
Projects carried out in other parts of the country have indicated that the actual migrant
number is between 50% and 75% greater than the number formally registered.
Lincolnshire Country Council, South Holland District Council and East Lindsey District
Council have carried out research that indicates that although 20,000 migrant workers
are registered across the county the actual number of migrants in the county is nearer
35,000. Kings Lynn and West Norfolk District Council have also noted considerable
anecdotal variations to those officially recorded. Their estimation of migrant numbers is
a high as 10% of their population whereas census estimates give the non white British
population as 2.42% 9.

9
    West Norfolk‟s Sustainable Community Strategy - Tackling Important Local Issues 2007-2030
With this in mind, although in the region of 2200 migrant workers would appear to have
been registered as working in Mendip it is likely that the actual number of migrants is far
higher. It needs to include dependents who have since joined migrant workers and also
those who have not registered via these schemes. It is therefore quite possible that
there are between 3500 to 4000 migrants living in the Mendip area.


4.0 The Local Focus – Qualitative Data

The main focus for this research work was the local picture and how Mendip could
contribute positively. This has included surveys with local employers and employment
agencies, support from the CAB regarding migrant workers‟ problems and concerns,
feedback from local schools and doctors, interviews with the local police service and
third party research by Ipsos MORI. As with all surveys and interviews the opinions
given have to be viewed on the understanding that they may not be fully representative
due to the size of the survey and the fact that opinions can be very personal. However,
it is hoped that the broad nature of stakeholders contacted and the specific targeting of
migrant groups within the district has allowed this research to gain a useful picture of
the local situation.

Appendix C provides a list of the stakeholder groups interviewed.

4.1 Interviews with migrant worker focus groups and stakeholders by Ipsos MORI
As part of this project Mendip District Council contracted Ipsos MORI to carry out
research in its behalf and obtain qualitative feedback from migrant workers living in
Mendip10 and those who have close links with them. This included focus groups with the
most represented nationalities in the District, - Polish, Portuguese and Filipino migrants
- and interviews with specific stakeholders. Excerpts from their report have been
integrated into this overall report in some cases verbatim and in other cases with
additional comment.

4.2 Why Mendip?
When asked why they had come to Mendip reasons included:
 employment

    friends and family

    to provide more opportunities and a better future for their children (for those with
     families)

With this in mind it is important to see if migrant residents have found the move positive
and if their aspirations have been met.

The comments collated by Ipsos MORI from the focus groups containing Polish, Filipino
and Portuguese migrant workers show the following items as being raised.




10
  Customer Insight Project: Migrant residents - September 2008, Research conducted for Mendip District Council by
Ipsos MORI
Migrant Residents’ Views of Living in Mendip

Portuguese Residents’ Perceptions                    Polish Residents’ Perceptions

Good Things                                          Good Things

Schools and teachers                                 Customer service
Playgrounds and parks                                Benefits
Clubs for children                                   Countryside
Libraries                                            Schools and nurseries
Hospitals and GPs surgeries                          Police and safety
Customer service                                     Jobs
Countryside
Bad Things                                           Bad Things

Public transport                                     Expensive
Cohesion                                             Anti social behaviour (youths)
Local people                                         Sports provisions and coaching
Cost of childcare                                    Hygiene in nurseries
Rubbish collection                                   Rubbish collection
Crime                                                NHS
Language services                                    Language services
Information on benefits                              Housing department
Housing department                                   Benefit services
                                                     Communication between MDC and
                                                     Government services
                                                     Cost of parking
Table 4 – Migrant Residents‟ Views of Living In Mendip


As can been seen from table 4 there are some similarities of opinion. For the district
council it is important to note that a number of the areas of dissatisfaction are within its
remit to address, but many are not.



4.3 Employment
Some residents saw a website or leaflet in their country of origin advertising jobs in
Mendip through an agency and others heard through friends and family already living in
Mendip that there were jobs available in the area.

The roles of those interviewed included factory operative, shop proprietor, recruitment
agency worker, supermarket store attendant, and café manager.
Private sector stakeholders stated that the jobs migrant workers undertake depend on
the level of English they speak, emphasising the importance of providing English
language courses to help migrants get better jobs.
Several of the residents and stakeholders interviewed mentioned the problem of gang
masters and the perceived exploitation of migrant workers in the local area.
       Case Study: Portuguese resident’s experience

       One Portuguese female resident reported that she came to Mendip
       following the advert for a well-paid employment opportunity, which
       turned out to be very long hours and very poor pay. The employer
       apparently has been arrested.

       Case Study: Polish resident’s experience

       A Polish couple were sacked from working at a factory on producing
       their National Insurance and Home Office documentation. They feel
       that this may have been due to tax evasion by the employer.

       Stakeholder’s experience:

       One stakeholder has found that there are many employers in the
       community who are breaking the law and exploiting the lack of
       knowledge migrant workers have of their employment rights and
       responsibilities. He is working with the South West Trade Union
       Congress and other organisations to identify employers who may be
       infringing the law and to work with them to eradicate this malpractice.

       Another stakeholder was aware of employers who were perceived to be
       breaking the law when migrant workers first began to come to Mendip
       in 2000-2002.




4.4 Employers and Employment Agencies
As part of this Mendip surveyed local employers and employment agencies to get
feedback from them on migrant workers. The survey questions (appendix D) covered a
range of areas that it was hoped would help us get a more rounded picture of the
migrant workers and their dependants in the area.

Of the respondents one employer indicated that around 60% of their employees were
migrant workers showing the dependence of some local companies. The employment
agencies were less responsive but a figure of around a 15% number of migrant staff
was cited by one respondent. When asked how they sourced migrant workers the
general response was that migrants contacted them, sometimes through existing
employees. Adverts in the press were also cited.

The survey asked if migrant workers were given any information regarding local
facilities, benefits or services and, if not, would a Welcome Pack be of use if provided by
the council. Responses showed that no workers were being given information and, not
surprisingly, a „Welcome Pack‟ would be of use.
When asked if they were aware of any council services of the council that their migrant
employees were using the following areas were listed:

Schools
Colleges
Health Care
Dentists
Housing
Family benefits

Interestingly the majority of these are not provided by the district council, but it gives a
picture of the public services that migrants are known to be using.

The survey asked if there was anything that made it difficult for migrant workers to come
and work in Mendip, and what the council could do for them and those that employ them
to help. This question did not elicit much feedback. One respondent stated that the
biggest need (for some) was to learn basic English. Another comment was made that
migrants' main source of information seems to be their own compatriots i.e. the
grapevine.

       „That's how they learn about flats, jobs, agencies, NI numbers, Worker Reg'n scheme
       etc.‟
                              Employment Agency

4.5 Citizens Advice Bureau
The Citizens Advice Bureaus in the Mendip area see, on average, 60/70 people a week
with problems that they want help with. It was estimated by the Bureau that around
twelve of these visitors each week were not English. The Mendip CAB provides a
support service to migrant workers, acting as a first port of call for many new entrants to
the area. The terms of reference for this research project centre on understanding and
then meeting the needs of migrant workers. The people entering the CAB offices are in
need; they have problems. With this in mind it was agreed with the CAB that they would
provide support to the research by compiling a snapshot of data about needs of migrant
workers entering their offices. The aim of this is to get further information on the
backgrounds of migrant workers in Mendip, an indication of their skill levels, English
language skills and levels of pay; this can then be used to build on from the scrutiny
research.

Mendip is very grateful to the CAB for supporting us in this work.



4.6 Customer Information Point contacts
Mendip District Council has four customer information points (CIPs) based away from
the main District Council Offices. These are in Street, Glastonbury, Frome and Wells.
During the period of the research project the CIPs noted the nationality of non English
customers and recorded the subject of their query. From this it has been possible to get
an indication of the services most queried by migrant workers and a snapshot of the
nationalities approaching the council.
              40
              35
              30
    Numbers

              25                                                                                                       June
              20                                                                                                       July
              15                                                                                                       August
              10
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Fig 11 – Contacts at Customer Information Points during one quarter




              70


              60


              50


              40                                                                                              August
   Number




                                                                                                              July
              30                                                                                              June


              20


              10


              0
                    Housing Housing       Council       Tax      SCC     Refuse       SCC     Business
                    Benefit  Needs         Tax        credits    query                educ      rate
                                                          Service

Fig 12 – Services accessed by migrants at Customer Information Points

From this snapshot it can be seen that the dominant groups, as far as registration is
concerned, are having some contact with the council. More interesting perhaps is the
fact that Chinese migrants, who are not seen as highly represented through registration
purposes are registering.

As far as the service demand is concerned, housing and related benefits show the
highest demand. This was reflected in the focus group‟s discussion and is shown later
in this report.
5.0         English as a Way into Work and into the Local Community

The ability to speak English is vital if migrant workers are to achieve their work potential
and obtain all the support that they are eligible to.

The focus groups and stakeholder interviews carried out as part of the research have
indicated a strong demand for English language courses. Stakeholders interviewed are
keen that migrant residents have more opportunity to attend English lessons. This was
raised as a particular concern by the employer stakeholder, where limited English levels
present some challenges in the working environment and the church representative,
who sees learning English as key to integration in the local community. The impact that
poor English has on communication was raised when interviews were carried out with
local schools. One interviewee raised the difficulties faced in explaining to migrant
parents what the educational needs of their children were and also pointed out how
other personal and social issues of the children were hard to discuss where parents
struggled with English.
Learning English was identified by all migrant focus groups interviewed as important.
However, very few residents had attended English lessons – many residents feel that
shift work, the lack of local intensive courses available and costly childcare makes
attending lessons very difficult.


          Stakeholder experience – local activist’s perspective

          The local activist stakeholder has been overwhelmed by requests for
          help and advice by new Portuguese residents since she speaks
          Portuguese. She subsequently set up the Community Mediation
          Network, using the central focus for the Portuguese community,
          Lisboa Café, as a meeting place and information point. With funding
          from SREC, English courses were provided every Tuesday from
          19.30-21.30. However, people simply did not attend the lessons:
          “we‟ve bought that t-shirt and we‟ve worn it out.” The Network, which
          she thought would be as successful as SPC, has not had much
          interest either.


Contacts made with the local secondary schools in the District have indicated that
English language difficulties for some of the children of migrants have led to additional
resources, by way of English as an Additional Language Teacher, being invested. The
need for lower key English lessons for children and parents were called for to benefit
families and teachers. The need for language training that focuses more on
conversational English rather than the higher ESOL training came up in a number of
discussions during the research. Schools, churches and surgeries all cited the benefits
of such training as not only helping migrant members integrate but as also being less
frightening to commence.

Work carried out by Government to estimate the need for ESOL in different parts of the
country11 indicates a strong need, particularly in the town areas of the district. The
difficulty with this data is that it is based on research carried out by the Government that

11 Read Write Plus – Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
pre-dates the influx of migrants seen in the last few years. It has led to some concerns
about the validity of the data but gives a picture of minimum need from which to build.
The House of Commons report „Community Cohesion and Migration‟ stated;




6.0 Perceptions of Migrants of Living in Mendip and Stakeholders

As part of the research migrants were asked what they thought was good and bad
about living in the area. The focus of the work was on their views of Mendip District
Council, but the opinions received ranged across the public sector spectrum.
Stakeholders were also asked to give their opinions of the impact of migrants.



6.1 Good opinions
The migrant residents interviewed stated that they found public sector staff (particularly
staff of Mendip District Council) to be friendly, welcoming and willing to help. Polish
residents noted that staff were very flexible in their approach and quick to act and one
resident added that they are creative in developing new ideas.
              “They‟re welcoming…I like the people at the council”
                                        Male Portuguese resident
Of other public sector services there were also positive responses. One Portuguese
resident praised the schools and teachers for being “gentle” in the way they integrated
their children, whilst another was particularly pleased with the range of clubs and the
library provision that are offered to children, which they felt were much better than those
in their country of origin.

        Case study: Polish residents’ experience

        The Polish couple interviewed have a son who is severely disabled.
        They expressed that they are very happy with the support given by
        Social Services (and one staff member in particular) who have
        helped them access all the services they required for their son.
        They identified the treatment of people with disabilities in Mendip as
        a real positive: “It is much better here…people with disabilities
        receive much quicker support. In Poland you can wait up to 5
        years. We are very pleased to live here.”


      Schools
The LEA records data on ethnic origin of pupils and submits this annually to central
government. This data has limited benefit to the research project as it is focused on
ethnic origin rather than nationality. A child born and raised in this country but with
Pakistani parents would, for example, be recorded as Asian under the statistics. Also
children from Europe are not split into country of origin but would be recorded together
as „Other White‟.

The secondary schools in the district were contacted to obtain direct feedback from
them of any increase in pupils from other countries. In the Wells area there has been no
perceived increase but other towns all noted increases and impacts from this.

Apart from Wells all other towns mentioned Polish pupils as the main arrivals, with
Portuguese, Lithuanian and Turkish also being mentioned. These are all countries that
are prominent in the NINO registration. Some schools have employed English as an
Additional Language teachers and others mentioned after lesson support for pupils.



           Case Study: Frome School’s experience

           One school stated that there has been a huge rise in non English
           students coming to their school in recent years. These were mainly
           from Poland.

           The school now has a foreign language teacher to come in to help
           with the children. In addition to this they also have a teaching
           assistant that teaches specifically EAL (English as an Additional
           Language) lessons to migrant children. The school also pays to have
           the services of a Somerset County Council support worker.

           All of these services place a cost burden on the school.




When the South West region is viewed over the last four years the number of EAL
teachers can be seen to have increased across all counties (Table 3 below). The
percentage increase across Somerset as a whole since 2004 is 220%.

                       2004           2005            2006            2007             2008           %
                   Total   % of   Total   % of    Total   % of    Total  % of     Total % of       Increase
                   EAL    Total   EAL    Total    EAL    Total    EAL    Total    EAL     Total     2004 -
                          Pupil          Pupil           Pupil           Pupil            Pupil      2008
SOUTH
WEST               11,600   1.8   12,700    2.0   14,770    2.3   18,280    2.9   20,140     3.2       73.6
Bath and North
East Somerset        400    1.7     400    1.7      383    1.7      543     2.4     534      2.4       33.5
Bournemouth          700    3.6     700    3.7      922    4.9    1,107     6.0   1,223      6.7       74.7
Bristol, City of   2,800    7.0   3,100    7.7    3,515    8.9    4,164    10.8   5,092     13.0       81.9
Cornwall             400    0.6     400    0.6      447    0.7      620     0.9     604      0.9       51.0
Devon                800    0.9     800    0.9      961    1.1    1,190     1.4   1,350      1.6       68.8
Dorset               400    0.9     400    0.9      525    1.0      636     1.3     643      1.3       60.8
Gloucestershire   1,600      2.0   1,600    2.0   1,718     2.2   1,980     2.6   2,205    2.9       37.8
North Somerset    D.N.    D.N.
                  A.      A.        300     1.2    373      1.5     543     2.1     572    2.2   D.N.A.
Plymouth            800      2.2    800     2.3    794      2.3     937     2.8   1,027    3.1       28.4
Poole               200      1.1    300     1.7    328      1.9     495     2.9     477    2.8      138.5
Somerset            400      0.6    700     1.1    830      1.3   1,093     1.7   1,279    2.1      219.8
South
Gloucestershire     700     1.9      700    2.0     802     2.2   1,006     2.8     960    2.6       37.1
Swindon           1,400     5.4    1,600    6.2   1,915     7.4   2,373     9.3   2,356    9.2       68.3
Torbay              300     1.7      300    1.7     225     1.3     288     1.7     351    2.1       17.0
Wiltshire           800     1.3      900    1.5   1,027     1.7   1,295     2.2   1,463    2.5       82.9

Table 3 - Number of EAL Pupils in Primary and Secondary Schools by Local Authority January
2004 – January 2008




6.2 Areas of dissatisfaction

     Police
There were mixed views amongst the Polish migrants over the Police. Many agreed
with one female resident who stated that they “were the best” since they are
approachable and willing to help. However, a male resident said they had been slow to
act on his concerns.
Portuguese residents feel that the Police treat their concerns and problems differently to
those of other local people. They also feel that “there is too much crime.”


                  “Unfortunately, when the Portuguese are victims, the CCTV doesn‟t work
                  but it does the other way around.”
                                                                Male Portuguese resident


From the police perspective there was a view of greater integration by the Portuguese
community due to them being less isolationist. The value of the Lisboa café and its
tireless licensee, was cited as having brought the community into the mainstream. A
„Beat Surgery‟ is held in the café and has allowed the police to build good relationships.
In addition to this the fact that the Portuguese live mainly in family units with wide-
ranging ages (grandparents, parents and children), has brought them into greater
contact with local residents. Home ownership is high and most have good jobs (one is
the head chef at the Charlton House Hotel). The police believe that they have
integrated well with the indigenous population although tensions can arise because of
the „café culture‟. This means that members of the Portuguese community tend to sit
outside at tables in the town centre or congregate in groups which can be intimidating
for other members of the community.

The Eastern bloc / Polish community is considered more problematic for the police. The
police believe they are more isolationist and socialise only within their own community.
They are suspicious of the police and of authority in general which can result in them
not reporting crime against them and, indeed, being exploited. An example cited in
interview was, the Lithuanians who work at the car wash unit in Shepton Mallet all live at
9 West Shepton in bedsits. They are controlled by a licensed gang-master and
provided with a job and somewhere to live but don‟t get to keep much of their earnings.
The local police have said that migrant related crimes tend to involve vehicles (not being
taxed, uninsured, driving offences) and disorderly conduct but, that they feel that these
are mostly due to differences in culture from their native countries or being unaware /
not fully cognisant of English law. The CAB have also confirmed that their experience is
that items such as the different laws involving vehicles are often confusing to the
migrants they see.

What has increased is the cost of providing a translation / interpreter service. No
interviews or any legal proceedings can be carried out without these services in place
(no firm costings or statistics available) but they do have a significant impact on
budgets.

    Mendip District Council Services
Both Polish and Portuguese residents find language services in terms of providing
accessible information in their native languages as a negative point in Mendip
(compounded by lack of face-to-face contact with staff).
They also think that the rubbish collection is in need of improvement. The frequency of
the collection, the size of the bin, the recycling facilities and what items can be recycled
are all thought to be inadequate, whilst several Polish residents feel that refuse workers
made more mess when collecting the rubbish.
The Housing and Benefit departments and systems are also identified as bad services
in Mendip. Many residents have examples of having received one letter that, for
example, would grant them a council tax deduction, which only days later would be
overruled in a following letter. The feeling is that council and governmental departments
do not communicate with each other and that the system is confusing and inaccessible.
              “You won‟t know anything about it [benefits advice] if you don‟t speak
              English or know someone who can advise you.”
                                                           Male Portuguese resident


Most in the Polish group have not heard of MDC‟s Housing department. On becoming
pregnant, women from both the Polish and Portuguese groups were allocated
accommodation but one Portuguese female resident was told this was temporary until
more appropriate accommodation could be found (she has been living there now for 4
years). Yet another Portuguese woman stated “I‟m happy because of the house
Mendip gave me”. The Polish couple were told that there was not appropriate MDC
accommodation to accommodate the needs of their disabled son but they are hopeful
that their situation may soon be reviewed.

         Case Study: Polish residents’ experience

         Filling in forms to access benefits and services was noted by many
         as a particular problem. For the Polish couple, filling in forms to
         access services for their son was time-consuming and
         overwhelming.

         “We were overwhelmed by the paperwork. It‟s very difficult for us
         because of the language but it is even for English people.”

         They often seek help with forms from their contact at Social
         Services. They do use the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) but there
         is only someone who speaks Polish there once a week so they have
         to book an appointment two weeks in advance. Since forms are
         complicated, they often do not have enough time in the hour
         appointment to complete them.
     Health Service
There were major differences in experience between Portuguese and Polish groups
with regards to health services. Whilst Portuguese residents find NHS services to be
good, Polish residents have experienced long waits, feel that they are often issued
paracetamol when they need antibiotics and that they should be able to see a specialist
when requested.

Data in this area is difficult to come by due to the recording methods carried out by the
PCT. When surgeries were approached directly they were happy to share their
experiences but unable to give statistical evidence in this area.

Feedback received was that the registration of non English patients has been increasing
year on year. The patients were initially mainly single but increasingly family groups are
registering. One surgery commented that they felt that migrants seem to be clear of the
registration process and that they did not received visits from non registered patients
who did not understand the UK NHS system.

When asked about the nationalities registering the list complied fits the profile of
information coming from other avenues; Polish, Portuguese, Latvian and „other East
Europeans‟ were mentioned along with Chinese and African patients.

The difficulties of dealing with patients who do not speak English or have a poor grasp
of the language were noted, with the use of a telephone based translation service that is
supplied via the PCT being mentioned. One observation made was that while this
allowed for translation there is no advocacy for the migrant through this process.

There was no feeling amongst those contacted that practices are being adversely
impacted by the number of non English patients or any anecdotal observations of other
practices that might be suffering problems.

Interviewees were aware of initiatives that the PCT is running to support migrant
communities but it was commented that this was about communities, not individuals,
and that individual advocacy was an area that would benefit focus from the PCT.


7.0 Views of racism and treatment from the local community
Many Portuguese residents stated that they experience racism from local people and, in
general, feel that residents do not want to engage with them. They felt they had a bad
reputation in the area, which has stemmed from previous problems with a notable
Portuguese employer and that local people consequently leave them alone. Some
mentioned that their children have also had some problems with integration. Many
Portuguese residents cited particular incidents where they have been told to „speak
English‟ or that „they are taking the jobs of local people‟. One female resident had got
the Police involved on a number of occasions. However, some stated that only a
minority of indigenous people are responsible for racism or that it depends on the area
you live in, with people in more diverse areas being more accepting.


               “When you start to speak Portuguese people stop talking to you…people
               leave you alone”
                                                         Female Portuguese resident



On the other hand, Polish residents have found their neighbours and local people
friendly and welcoming and feel safe in the area. One stakeholder feels that local
residents view new Polish residents as brave for starting a new life here.

When racism was discussed with the police they stated that reported racist incidents
have decreased but that they feel that they still occur. Anecdotally, the officer
interviewed commented that two Lithuanians had been assaulted in the week previous
to the interview in Shepton Mallet but refused to press charges.

The Somerset Racial Equality Council believes a significant part of any increase in
reported incidents is because people are more aware of their rights and so more likely
to report. The number of migrant workers being referred to SREC after a racial incident
has increased; however, they have said that in their opinion the numbers still remain
low12. Racial offences are low in Somerset and generally, are not targeted at a specific
minority group. The statistics vary and it is difficult to establish whether racial incidents
are generally increasing or decreasing. However, sources for the last few years
indicate that there are approximately 250 racial incidents (which includes 240 racist
crimes) a year. This number is less than 0.01% of total crimes13.


8.0 Are Migrant Workers Here to Settle?
Among those migrant residents interviewed, the time in Mendip ranged from 1-8 years.
Many Polish migrant residents had initially planned to stay for just a year but have
stayed much longer. Given that some migrants had raised concerns about their
acceptance and treatment by the local community the researchers then looked at
whether the migrants had short term or long term plans to stay in Mendip.
The general feeling from all residents interviewed was that, despite any problems they
may have had in the local area, they generally feel settled and would be happy, and for
the most part, plan to stay in Mendip. The one resident originally from outside the EU
has passed her citizenship exam and is applying for residency.

               “I feel quite at home, we pay taxes, our children are at the local school.
               We feel part of the community.”
                                                                    Male Polish resident
               One stakeholder felt that migrant workers with families are increasingly
               moving from other parts of the country (notably from larger towns) to

12 Equality Impact Assessment –Community Safety , Mendip District Council
13 Crime Statistics from Mendip and South Somerset Community Safety Partnership
              Mendip and felt that the migrant worker population would continue to
              increase, regardless of the fact that some Polish workers are now
              returning to Poland (the latter being a phenomenon reported by many of
              the stakeholders).

              “I will stay here when my children are grown up…I like it here and I want
              to stay.”
                                                          Female Portuguese resident.


The stakeholder employer noted that there are migrant workers who are employed
permanently and are settled in the local area and those who are agency staff and tend
to come to Mendip for seasonal work. The stakeholder from the estate agency (which
other stakeholders concurred with) felt that there is simply a mixture of some people
who come to settle both with their families and on their own and some who come to
save money or send it home and then return to their country of origin.


9.0 What Services Do Migrant Workers Need?
It is recognised that migrant workers have specific priorities on arrival in the District and
that their needs change once they become resident. The CAB have commented that
their experience is that migrant arrivals have problems specific to them being migrant,
but that after about a year their issues and problems are similar to longer term English
residents.


9.1 New Arrivals
Finding employment or an income, access to the health service and finding out general
information on how the local system works and how services can be accessed were
listed as the chief priorities for a newcomer to Mendip.
              “My first concern was to know lots about the system…The system at
              home is totally different from here, to know how to apply for things and
              how to access the services.”
                                                          Female Portuguese Resident


The information new residents require is not however only about benefits and service
provision but also about how to ensure that they stay on the right side of the law. For
instance, in Poland, they do not have to pay council tax so for many there was some
initial confusion over why they should pay. One stakeholder identified the problem local
Portuguese boys have had with car insurance. In Portugal, car owners do not pay car
tax so there have been many incidences with Police involvement where young
Portuguese men have not had the correct car documentation.
Housing was identified as a service which many had difficulty trying to access. It is very
costly for newcomers - paying a deposit and double rent upfront – and those who could
not speak English on arrival found that they could not get accommodation – i.e. call a
landlord to enquire about a flat/house - without the help of someone who speaks
English.
Other priorities included making friends and integrating, schooling and children settling
into the area (for those who had children) and learning about the culture and social
norms. This theme was taken up by two of the stakeholders who feel that Portuguese
residents could make more effort to integrate into the local community.
9.2 Migrant Residents
There is much agreement between those migrant residents questioned about their
current service priorities (Table 5) with jobs being mentioned as important by all and
housing advice and doctors and hospitals being the next most important services.


                        Participants’ top three priorities
Group/depths             Priority 1         Priority 2                Priority 3
Polish group            Jobs/income             Doctors &          Housing advice
                                                hospitals
Portuguese                   Jobs               Doctors &          Benefits/housing
group                                           hospitals           advice & crime
Polish depths             Doctors &             Education                Jobs
                          hospitals
Portuguese                  Jobs                  Health                Shops
depth
Filipino depth         Housing advice              Jobs              Activities for
                                                                    young people


Table 5 Top Three Priorities for Focus Group Interviewees



10.0 What Can Mendip Do to Improve Matters for Migrant Workers
All those interviewed were asked what single thing could Mendip District Council do
firstly, for migrant residents and secondly, for all residents.
All migrant residents feel that improving access to information in their native languages
would be a great help to people who have recently moved to Mendip from abroad
(discussed in more detail in the following section).
         Housing
For the population at large, the Portuguese feel improving safety and the housing
department are top priorities. In terms of safety, they feel that there were some specific
areas that need targeting, where migrants feel threatened.
Polish residents agree with Portuguese residents that the Housing department could be
improved and that the advice services need improving as well as the standard of
accommodation offered itself. The church representative feels that housing is a cause
of friction between the local indigenous population and migrant residents and that the
Council would do well to ensure that this service is optimal to help minimise any
tensions.
     Sports and Leisure
Some residents would like to see the Council improve sports and leisure facilities.
Many stakeholders identified this as an area which would help all residents in Mendip.
This is an interesting observation when compared to the Leisure Services survey14
carried out in 2007. This report was produced by external consultants and was targeted
specifically at non users of the leisure services. When asked about factors in stopping
individuals from undertaking more physical activity/exercise in the district the following
was seen:



14
     Non User Street Focus Survey, Research for Avalon Leisure 2007 - Leisure- Net Solutions Ltd
Factor                  Unimportant        Important      National          National
                                                          benchmark         benchmark
                                                          of                of important
                                                          unimportant
cultural/religious      90%                1%             87%               3%
reasons
disability /physical    73%                20%            73%               16%
impairments

main reason for         Cost 21.9%                  Not convenient
not currently using                                 5.2%
the facility            Benchmark 20%               Benchmark 3%
Would better            No -73%
programming
(single sex, better     Benchmark
times etc) increase     63%
participation?

Table 6 – Leisure Survey Feedback



The ethnic origin breakdown of respondents was as follows; British - 94.5%, Other-
5.5%
Mendip District statistical benchmark for other non English at this time was 3.5%

Migrants also suggested that integration could be improved through more community
events like the International Festival held in 2007.
Other services that MDC could improve include parking, which many find too expensive,
and many would like to see more affordable shops in the area.
        Improving Communication
Most migrant residents use the Job Centre, CAB and their informal network of friends
and family to find out about Council services. Some use the internet, however, no
residents interviewed had used MDC‟s website. Many do contact the Council by phone
complaining that this is too expensive.
Whilst migrant residents and stakeholders stated that migrant residents have tried and
tested ways of accessing the information they require about local services, there is an
overwhelming feeling that the Council could do much more to improve the way they
communicate with migrant residents.
                       “Mendip District Council, for us, is just Council tax” Female Polish
                                                                                   resident




There is much overlap in the ideas migrant residents suggest the Council could improve
communication with them:
   How MDC can improve communication
  Drop-in support                                      More face-to-face
  for community              Interpreting             contact (instead of
  organisations                                          phone-calls)
                                 services
         Mendip
     information                    Information advice
                                          centre
           point
                                                      Polish person
                    More information about
   Regular              MDC services                working for MDC
   meetings –
                                            Community space to meet
   like this one!
          More leaflets and                Standard application forms and
            newsletters                     advice in different languages




Having an adviser based in the Council who speaks different languages is a popular
suggestion, together with application forms in different languages and regular meetings
where they could get to air their views and issues. Also migrants, as mentioned, do not
like to use the phone because of the cost of this and of difficulties they face with
language.
                           “This meeting is 3 years too late but is better than nothing”
                                                               Female Polish resident
             “There‟s always a phone number.. with a strange English voice you can‟t
             understand and sometimes they are rude to you”
                                                               Female Polish resident


Stakeholders agree that having someone based in the Council who could assist migrant
residents with their queries would be beneficial. Filling in forms, with which English
people can also have difficulties, is compounded by the language gap is identified as a
key challenge for migrant residents.
             “They could do with someone who can explain the system properly as
             I‟m not trained to do it”
                                       Stakeholder: Estate agent




11.0 Conclusions and Recommendations
The research carried out for this report indicates that migrant workers have built up a
strong presence in the District over the last five years. Many of these workers have
come to spend short periods of time earning money that they can then take home;
others have come for work and then found that they like the environment enough to
settle for the longer term. Families have joined migrant workers to settle.
The impact of the Accession 8, Easter European countries across Mendip is
considerable. There is a strong representation from Poland and the Slovak Republic in
Mendip, with other A8 migrants also within our boundaries and those of neighbouring
Districts. In Mendip there is also a noticeable Portuguese community and representation
from the Philippines and India in the Care Sector.
The current prediction from Government is that the numbers of these nationalities will
reduce and that many of those currently working in the UK will return home. Statistics
released have shown a downward trend in WRS registration from 2007 across the UK.
Mendip has so far bucked this trend, so needs to keep focused in it‟s personal situation
rather than follow the national viewpoint. The observation was made by migrants during
the focus group that migrant workers with families are increasingly moving from other
parts of the country (notably from larger towns) to Mendip should not be forgotten.
Throughout all of the qualitative work carried out for this research the same topic arose
– namely the need to enable migrant workers to learn English. Stakeholders stressed
the benefit of this to the migrants in that it allows them to integrate more effectively, to
improve their job prospects and gain a better standard of living for them and their
families. Migrants noted the frustration felt when dealing with public bodies, like the
District Council, who have not communication material other than English or anyone
who can advise them in their own language. Support for migrants who have not yet
learnt English and are therefore at their most vulnerable would seem to be a priority.
The feelings of the local community to migrant workers would appear to be mixed.
Anecdotal evidence was provided of perceived racism against migrants and
observations made that migrants are being perceived as getting priority for facilities
such as housing. Records of racial incidents are low, but this must be viewed on the
understanding that many incidents may not be recorded.
The business community recognise a need for migrant workers and if migrants leave
they are not convinced that English residents will be willing to fill the jobs. The current
credit crisis and dip into recession may force some to take these positions when they
many not have been willing to previously. The increase in unemployment may add to
migrants bring the focus of accusations of taking jobs from English people. This is
something that needs to be addressed. The positive gains from migrants working in the
UK needs to be promoted and should run alongside actions to dispel the myths
regarding migrants.
The aim of this research has been to get an idea of the migrant workers present in the
Mendip area and to understand their needs. It was anticipated that this would then allow
the council to look at what changes it could make to improve the services it provides.
The information gathered through this work indicates that the needs of migrants run far
wider than the services the district council provides. For an effective response to
migrant workers‟ needs to take place there needs to be a further reaching multi-agency
approach in Mendip.
From the results of the research the following recommendations are made.
   1. That the District Council holds a one day conference to present the finding of this
      report to other local stakeholders and discuss what actions can be taken in
      partnership to meet the needs of migrant workers in the area.
   2. That as part of this conference the council proposes the setting up of a Mendip
      Migrant Workers‟ Forum aimed at creating a long term partnership between
      public bodies, voluntary and community groups and a coherent strategy for
      supporting migrant workers in the area.
   3. That the council investigates the options available to it to appoint a migrant
      workers‟ liaison officer who is the single focus for migrant concerns in the council.
   4. That active steps are taken to promote the benefits of migrant workers to the
      district and to dispel any myths relating to migrants.
   5. That the council begins work to address the specific concerns and difficulties
      raised by migrant workers regarding Mendip District Council services; in
      particular Housing, Benefits and Council Tax.
   6. That the council investigates how it can provide a Mendip Welcome Pack for
      migrant workers in relevant languages.
   7. Since communication in English is seen as a critical requirement for integration,
      employment and well being that the council investigates what it can do to support
      the provision of English language lesson in the area.




Appendix A - Scrutiny Task and Finish Group Project Brief


Task and Finish Project Brief

Enquiry name

Migrant Workers in Mendip

 Terms of reference

To review the impact of migrant workers on employment, public services and
the local community. To assess whether Mendip District Council provides
migrant workers with access to suitable services to meet their needs.

Linked to Corporate Priority/ies

This work will contribute to all four corporate priorities, namely:
      Enhancing Mendip as a Place to Live
      Enabling an environment where individuals and businesses can prosper
      Encouraging and supporting communities and individuals to improve the
        quality of their life
      Ensuring value for money is provided in all services
It is anticipated that priorities three and four will be most closely linked.

Summary of enquiry
To gain a picture of the make up of the migrant workers community in Mendip.
To develop communications and understanding of the needs of the different
migrant communities in the District.
To look at how well Mendip District Council serves migrant communities, what it
can do better and what the impact of migrant workers is on our service
resources.
To look at the interaction of the different communities with the council, to review
if any groups are not be utilising our services and assess if this is by choice or
due to inadequate access.

Reason for enquiry

The Council wants to respond positively to the challenges provided by new
migrant workers.
The Council wishes to assess the impact of migrant workers on its services so
that it can review future resource implications and assess how best to use
resources most effectively.

What will not be included

This project will not include any assessment of whether people are in the
country legally or illegally.
The politics of immigration are not part of this piece of work

Risks

If the project fails to have sufficient resources it will be unable to implement the
work in the agreed timescale.
Survey work carried out could inadvertently cause concern, anxiety or offence
to migrant communities if not handled with care.
Confidentiality needs to be carefully guarded to avoid the risk of data being
incorrectly used.

Members conducting the scrutiny

Cllrs Ham, Whitmarsh, Barron and Flemming

Possible co-options

Co-optees will be considered as needed during the project

Portfolio holder(s

This project applies across all portfolios

Key stakeholders/ consultees

There is a wide group of stakeholders and consultees. They are expected to
include the following:
Local migrant workers, LEA, Police, Home Office, Department of Work and
Pensions, local private landlords, local employment agencies, local employers
of migrant workers, Somerset County Council, local community, Council staff,
members.
This list is not however exclusive and where other stakeholders come to light
during the work they will be included.

Potential witnesses

Potential witnesses are likely to come from the list of stakeholders and
consultees.

Research required

Comprehensive research will be required. Some of this data can be collected
via Government agencies, but much of it will have to come from surveys of
stakeholders and this will be resource intensive.
Answers to the following questions are considered important to provide the
project team with suitable data to work from.

  1. What is the breakdown of migrant workers in Mendip?
  2. Do the migrant workers come seasonally or more permanently?
  3. Is there purpose for work to send income home, to save a sum and then
  return home, or is it to settle and earn a living?
  4. What job markets do the migrant workers work in?
  5. Are the migrant workers in Mendip arriving as singles or families; if the
  former are they bringing families over after a period of time?
  6. Do migrants use the council‟s services?
    a. If so which ones?
    b. If not why not?
  7. Can migrants gain the access they need to Mendip and wider public
  services
  8. What impact are they having on the council‟s services and resources?
  9. Do migrant groups interact with the local community or do they keep
  themselves separate?
  10. Do people in migrant communities support each other and/or use other
  networks – if so which ones are they using?


Potential visits

There are currently no proposed visits but this will be reviewed during the
project.

Officers

Lead Officer – Tracy Aarons,
Administrative Support – Pam Newsham

Additional data support will be required from the Housing Team

Start date

Commencement will be upon Scrutiny approval of this brief.

Approximate meeting dates/topics/participants

The scrutiny working group proposed meeting on the following dates, at 11am,
to review progress and address the implications of the incoming data:
Tuesday 17th June – Charles Uzzell‟s office
Tuesday 22nd July – Interview Rm 1984 Building
Tuesday 19th August – Committee Rm
Tuesday 16th September – Council Chamber
Tuesday 14th October – Council Chamber

Proposed completion date

October 2008

Report date(s) to committees


Update reports will be presented to Scrutiny on 30th June, 4th August, 1st
September, 29th September, with the final report submitted on 27 th October

Publicity (e.g. of recommendations)

It is intended that the recommendations from this report will be made public.
Appendix B – Comparison of country of origin of National Insurance
Registrations across Somerset
                                         National Insurance Registrations Across Somerset for 2005/6



                          500




                          450




                                                                                                           Poland
                                                                                                           India
                          400
                                                                                                           Rep of Lithuania
                                                                                                           Slovak Rep
                                                                                                           South Africa
                                                                                                           Australia
                                                                                                           France
                          350
                                                                                                           Rep of Latvia
                                                                                                           Germany
                                                                                                           Czech Rep
                                                                                                           China Peoples Rep
                          300                                                                              Portugal
                                                                                                           Italy
Number of registrations




                                                                                                           Spain
                                                                                                           Rep of Ireland
                                                                                                           USA
                          250                                                                              Bangladesh
                                                                                                           Philippines
                                                                                                           Hungary
                                                                                                           New Zealand
                                                                                                           Netherlands
                          200                                                                              Brazil
                                                                                                           Zimbabwe
                                                                                                           Sweden
                                                                                                           Malaysia
                                                                                                           Turkey
                          150
                                                                                                           Mauritius
                                                                                                           Thailand
                                                                                                           Rep of Estonia
                                                                                                           Romania
                                                                                                           Bulgaria
                          100
                                                                                                           Russian Federation
                                                                                                           Japan




                          50




                           0
                                Mendip   Sedgemoor      South Somerset   Taunton Deane     West Somerset
                                         Breakdown of NI registrations for 2006/7 across Somerset


                                                                                                         Poland
                                                                                                         India
                                                                                                         Slovak Rep
                          600
                                                                                                         Australia
                                                                                                         Lithuania
                                                                                                         France
                                                                                                         South Africa
                                                                                                         Germany
                                                                                                         China
                                                                                                         Italy
                          500
                                                                                                         Nigeria
                                                                                                         Czech Rep
                                                                                                         Latvia
                                                                                                         Portugal
                                                                                                         Hungary
                                                                                                         Spain
                                                                                                         USA
                          400
                                                                                                         Bangladesh
                                                                                                         Rep of Ireland
                                                                                                         Philippines
                                                                                                         New Zealand
                                                                                                         Canada
Number of registrations




                                                                                                         Ghana
                                                                                                         Brazil
                          300
                                                                                                         Sweden
                                                                                                         Turkey
                                                                                                         Romania
                                                                                                         Zimbabwe
                                                                                                         Thailand
                                                                                                         Bulgaria
                                                                                                         Mauritius
                          200
                                                                                                         Estonia
                                                                                                         Ukraine
                                                                                                         Albania




                          100




                            0
                                Mendip   Sedgemoor     South Somerset   Taunton Deane    West Somerset
                          National Insurance Registrations for Overseas
                                       nationals in 2007/08

                  0.6
                                                                                             France
                                                                                             Germany
                                                                                             Italy
                  0.5                                                                        Netherlands
                                                                                             Portugal
                                                                                             Rep of Ireland
                                                                                             Spain
                  0.4
                                                                                             Sweden
Nos (Thousands)




                                                                                             Czech Rep
                                                                                             Slovak Rep
                                                                                             Hungary
                  0.3
                                                                                             Rep of Latvia
                                                                                             Rep of Lithuania
                                                                                             Poland
                  0.2                                                                        Bulgaria
                                                                                             Romania
                                                                                             Turkey
                                                                                             South Africa
                  0.1                                                                        Bangladesh
                                                                                             China Peoples Rep
                                                                                             India
                                                                                             Philippines
                   0
                                                                                             Thailand
                                                                        e
                                                        t
                          p




                                                                                         t
                                         r



                                                       se




                                                                                      se




                                                                                             USA
                                                                        n
                                      oo
                        di




                                                                     ea
                                                     er




                                                                                    er
                     en




                                   m




                                                                    D
                                                    m




                                                                                om
                                  e




                                                                                             Brazil
                    M




                                                So
                               dg




                                                                 n
                                                               to



                                                                               tS
                              Se




                                                             un
                                                h




                                                                                             Australia
                                                                             es
                                             ut



                                                            Ta
                                         So




                                                                            W




                                                                                             New Zealand
                                                       District
Appendix C – List of Stakeholder Groups Interviewed

Roman Catholic Church
Employers/Employment Agencies
Estate Agents/ Landlords
Voluntary Sector
Health Care
Education
Community Activists
Mendip District Council Service Providers
Appendix D – Employers/ Employment Agency Survey Questionnaire


                         Migrant Workers in Mendip Survey
Mendip District Council is currently carrying out research to assess the make up of
migrant workers in the district and gain an understanding of their needs. This will allow
us to address what actions Mendip and its partners can take to support them. The
information that you provide will be used positively to help improve the services that
migrants receive, to promote good relations between all residents of Mendip and help
maintain the valuable migrant workforce for the area.

Are you?          An employer                 An employment Agency

(please tick)



1. What percentage of your workforce is migrant?



2. Where do you source your workers from? (please circle)

Contacts         in Contacts  via Approaches     Adverts in the Other (please specify)
specific countries existing       made       via press
                    employees     European   job
                                  agencies



3. Please estimate (as a percentage) the status of your migrant workers

Single          Single     Men        with Women       with Men     with Women      with
men             women      accompanying    accompanying     dependants   dependants
                           dependants      dependants       abroad       abroad



4. Are your migrant workers provided with any information regarding local facilities, benefits or
services available to them? (Please circle) YES         NO

If yes please can you explain what they receive?




5. Would a Welcome Pack, provided by the Council, outlining benefits and services
available be helpful to your workers? (Please circle) YES    NO



6. Would you say that your migrant workers are sufficiently aware of the benefits system
available to them in this country? ( Please circle)   YES NO



7a. Are you aware if your staff use Mendip District Council services? (please circle) YES
NO

7b. If yes, is it your impression that they get the support they need? Please explain.




8. Are there any issues that you believe make it difficult for migrant workers to come to work
in Mendip, or to stay in Mendip? Please explain.




9. Is there anything that you think Mendip District Council could do to help the employment of
migrant workers? Please explain

								
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