Author Archives: danielleelewis

Profile: Nazek Ramadan, editor and chief of Migrant Voice.

Director of Mirgrant Voice, Nazek Ramadan won The London Migrant and Refugee Women of the Year award in 2012. In addition to this, Nazek is also the found ‘The New Londonders’ – the first refugee newspaper in London.

When she and her family fled Lebonon in 1986, Nazek became involved in volunteering when she arrived in the UK. One of her first challenges when arriving in the UK was to learn English, which she did by watching children’s television which is still advice she others now.


Nazeks first few year in London were not easy. Even after learning English and getting a job she found she was still not accepted. Nazek realised there was no platform for migrants to discuss being a migrant in the UK.

In 2007, she launched ‘The New Londoners’ newspaper which followed in the traditional London freesheets style. With ‘The New Londoners’ newspaper, Nazek succeeded in getting migrant voices and issue in front on London commuters.

Following the success of The New Londonders, Nazek then founded Migrant Voice in 2010. An organisation dedicated to addressing the lack of representation of migrant in the mainstream media.

Migrant Voice provides platforms for members of the migrant community, especially those whose voices are not usually heard. The organisations encourages them to express their views of issues affecting the way they live in the UK.
Projects that the organisation work on includes the Face2Face project which aims to break down negative stereotypes of immigrants in the UK and improve the public perception of migrants. Other projects include the Engaging Picture project which aims to improve participants skills in communication and their overall strategic messaging around migration.

Nazeks Migration Voice is a great platform for immigrants to vice there own concerns with how they are personally being treated in the UK in a time when government immigration policies are being heavily criticised.

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Long Form: How Immigration affects Education

There are many reason why people from all over the world come to the UK to look for a better life, be it to escape famine in their own countries or to gain access to a better quality of education and healthcare.

The Office for National Statistics recorded that at least 13% of The British population consists of migrants, with the most common non-UK country of birth being India. Yet the most common of non-British nationality being Polish with 700,000 Polish nationals currently living in the UK.

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According to a report (PDF) published in 2007 by The London School of Economics and Political Science, the majority of people who move to the UK do so “for work, refuge, stimulus, profit, personal development and pleasure”.

They believe the United Kingdom can offer themselves, and their families, better education, healthcare, and work opportunities.

Mijan Rahman is one student who travelled from Bangladesh to the UK to undertake a degree at Aston University.

Moving from Bangladesh to the UK I knew after I completed my degree I wanted to live in the UK. I knew if I went back to my country all this hard work will go to waste. The job prospects are very low there; in the UK I have more opportunities.”

With high expectations of living life as a student, Mijan soon found that he would need to take up a part time job in order to pay his university fees.

He added “I wasn’t enjoying my experience as much, I didn’t get to live the ‘free’ student life that others were living. Although I couldn’t complain much as my life here was better than in Bangladesh.”

Determined not to go back to Bangladesh, Mijan soon started another course after his first had finished so he was able to stay in the UK on a student visa.

Now 29, Mijan is happily married and currently living in London “After struggling alone with my financial issues and re-applying for student visas, my life is now on the right track. I got through my degree alone; got married with no family around and now have a baby to look after.”

Mijan was lucky enough to be given a study Visa as recent data has revealed that The number of study visas (excluding student visitors) issued by government have declined for a third year.

In the calender year 2012 the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21(211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).

                                           

These trends indicate study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly then previously.

The 9,750 (-5%) was more then account for by falls in student visas issued toPakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals which was up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issues in the year ending June 2013. Visitor visas allow students to stay in the UK for 6 months (11 months for English Language Schools) and cannot extend their visas.

A 2012 International Passenger Survey (IPS) conducted by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) found that the majority (64%) of EU nationals migrating to the UK did so to work, whilst, the majority (59%) of non-EU nationals were migrating to the UK to study. Figures obtained for all nationalities, showed that work and study were the top two reasons people gave when migrating.

Hamdan Khan is an example of these two reasons. Coming to the UK in 2007 from Saudi Arabia, Hamdan completed his A levels and graduated from studying a degree in Photography and Video at Birmingham City University in 2013.

The reason for me to move to the United Kingdom was because the education system in Saudi Arabia wasn’t as good.”

Because Hamdan completed his A-levels in the UK, he was classed a UK national when he appiled for university. Therefore he was charged the national fee for a UK student studying at university.

Not wanting to take out a student loan in the fear that he will not be able to pay it back, Hamdan relied on financial support from his fathers’ business and also started to work part time at a newsagent to cover the cost for studying in the UK. Having been interested in photography and video, Hamdan also started a freelance business of his own.

After financial support from his fathers’ business became low due to losses, Hamdan said: “I had to work full time as a photographer and my mother worked in the newsagent, also full time.

We struggled but we still paid for our university, and our daily needs.” He added.

You only have to walk through the grounds of a university to find out just how multicultural education in the UK has become. Be it, in the canteen, the library, the students’ union, or just the person sitting next to you in a lecture on Computer Engineering, universities are laced with international students from all over the world.

It is not just universities that have seen an increase in international students A secondary school teacher in Birmingham found that, in one school alone, data showed that 98% of students had English as an additional language.

A History teacher in Birmingham, Jo Fairclough, said: “This included students who had only recently arrived to the UK and spoke little or no English.

Communication is more difficult in these situations.”

Recent data by the National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum (NALDIC) found that the number of pupils who have, or are learning, English as an Additional Language (EAL) has increased by half a million in the last 15 years.

Jo added: “However there are EAL support teachers which help.

The role of an EAL support teacher is to prepare relevant resources on a student’s home language.”

The government has been backing project in English as an Additional Language since, as early as, 1966, and there are around 246 support teachers employed to meet the needs of EAL pupils in the West Midlands.

In 1966, Section 11 of the Local Government Act made funds available ‘to help meet the special needs of a significant number of people of commonwealth origin with language or customs which differ from the rest of the community. This included funding to support the education of EAL and bilingual learners.

In 1999, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was distributed to local authorities on a formula basis. The formula related to the number of EAL learners and the number of pupils from ‘underachieving’ minority ethnic groups in local authorities.

The purpose of this grant was to enable strategic managers in schools to narrow achievement gaps and ensure equality of outcomes, and, also to meet the costs of some of the additional support in place for the specific needs of bilingual learners and ‘under-achieving’ pupils. Each local authority was required to devolve the bulk of this funding to schools, and spending of this grant was restricted to the purposes outlined.

Despite significant opposition, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG) was mainstreamed into the Direct Schools Grant (DSG) in 2011, and schools were allowed complete freedom over how they chose to use it.

In 2013, the revised schools funding reform mentioned that an ‘EAL factor’ can be included in local funding formulae for schools. However, this factor would be limited to bilingual pupils who have been enrolled to English schools for a maximum of 3 years. Local schools authorities could also decide: whether to include an EAL factor in their formula; whether this factor will ‘count’ bilingual pupils who have been enrolled in a school in England for one, two or three years and the cash value of this factor for primary aged pupils and for secondary aged pupils. There is also no accountability mechanism in place to observe how schools make use of this funding.

 

Ameera’s journey

Ameeras journey

Click on the image above to read about Ameera’s experience when applying for her student VISA to study at Birmingham City University.

Study visas to the UK continue to decline

Long-term trends in student immigration

The number of study visas (excluding student visitors) issued by government have declined for a third year data has revealed.

In the calender year 2012 the amount of international students who successfully received a study visa had fallen 21% (211,000) since 2011 and a further 5% (-9,750) in the year ending June 2013 (204,469).

These trends indicate study-related visas issued, admissions and long-term immigration have all continued to fall, though less quickly then previously.

The 9,750 (-5%) was more then account for by falls in student visas issued to Pakistani and Indian nationals whilst there were increases from other nationalities. These included a 3% increase for Chinese nationals and Libyan nationals which was up nearly three-fold (+277%).

Despite the slow decline in study visas issues, there was a 5% increase in student visitor visas issues in the year ending June 2013. Visitor visas allow students to stay in the UK for 6 months (11 months for English Language Schools) and cannot extend their visas. 

Language barrier causing low employment rates for UK immigrants

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Data which looks at English language proficiency in the labour market has shown that over half of those who were non-proficient in English were unemployed and were more than three times as likely to report no qualifications.

This is compared to those who use English as their main language who had an employment rate of 71.9%. 

At the time of the census, there were 41.8 million (91.9%) people with English as their main language, 2.9 million (6.4%) who were proficient in English and 785,000 (1.7%) who were non-proficient.

The low employment rate for people non-proficient in English was largely driven by women, with just over a third in employment. However, men who were non-proficient in English had a similar employment rate (68.0%) to men who were proficient in English (72.3%) and men whose main language was English (75.5%).