Although the need for the provision of equal opportunities in all fields, for all young people iswidely accepted, at the same time, it is observed that there are certain circumstances which prevent the participation of specific groups of young people such as
young people with migrant background
. These circumstances take the form of obstacles which prevent these young peoplefrom participating (or, in certain occasions, lead them to choosing not to participate). Thesuccessful integration of young people with migrant background in the wider society is not only a pre-condition for democratic participation and for social cohesion, but also a dynamic and continuous two-way process of mutual accommodation. With increasing migration into and withinan already quite culturally differentiated EU and with a high proportion of this immigration fromcountries whose social and political cultures are significantly different, there is an urgent need tostrengthen policies that enhance the participation and lead to social inclusion of young people withmigrant background.
1.a. What are the main obstacles preventing social inclusion of young people withmigrant background?
1.1The results indicated two distinct responses, the first indicating that there are no issues orbarriers to integration of migrants in some areas. The second is from those who did seeobstacles. A significant number of the UK young people consulted felt that young peoplefrom migrant backgrounds did not have any obstacles preventing social inclusion and hadthe same opportunities as those born in the UK (41%). There was little difference betweenthe responses from young people from migrant backgrounds (31% felt this) and those bornin the UK (42%).The main reasons were that they felt there was no discrimination in their communities andschools, that legally migrant young people had the same rights and equal access toservices and provision. A minority of young people also felt that migrants received positivediscrimination and had better opportunities than those born in the UK.
‘The UK is nothing if not a melting pot of immigrants from all over the world. Our language,our law and our urbanism is based on a chaotic collectivism that is beautiful and terrifying.’
1.2However 45% felt that young people from migrant backgrounds did not have the sameopportunities than those born in the UK. The
preventing social inclusionfor young people from migrant backgrounds were the language barrier, followed by racism,negative perceptions of the public and media and poverty.
There was also a strong trendfor asylum seekers and refugees to state that they wanted to integrate into UK society butthere were numerous legal barriers inhibiting their progress.1.3Language is a fundamental barrier for integration within their communities andcommunicating at school and work. It was stated that there is not sufficient provisionsavailable for migrants to learn the language quickly. Many new migrants are placed inclasses with young people from the same country which inhibited them from learningEnglish. Also lack of provision for interpreters in schools and health services makes itchallenging for new migrants to communicate and access services.1.4There has been funding cuts in ESOL (English Speakers of Other Language) classes andthose without the basic understanding of English are not permitted to enroll on the coursetherefore causing a barrier for young people to take the first step to learn English.1.5Poor access to education was one of the main barriers raised by refugee and asylum seekeryoung people. They have limited access to schools, colleges and universities especially if they are over the age of 18. There are many barriers for these young people for example;young people who arrive in a middle of a school year have to wait until the next year toenroll due to insufficient school places. Refugees and asylum seekers are often made tomove house and school frequently which makes it difficult for young people to settle downand make friends. Accessing higher education is very challenging as university fees areexpensive particularly for those who have been residing in UK for less than 3 years (fees upto £9,000). As asylum seekers and refugees have limited access to work it was often seenas impossible to access higher education without funding or bursaries.
Young people with migrant background are young persons living in an EU country where they were not born,irrespective of whether they are third-country nationals, citizens of another EU Member State or subsequentlybecame nationals of the host Member State. Many experts in the field stress that for people with migrantbackground, immigration plays a key role in their biography whether they or their parents migrated. In thosecases where these people are not included, represented or accepted in the mainstream society, the migrantbackground is perceived to be negative.