Study paints gloomy picture for migrants

Migrant workers in mid-Norfolk face language barriers and are open to exploitation and inadvertent criminalisation, according to a report due to be published at the end of this month.

Migrant workers in mid-Norfolk face language barriers and are open to exploitation and inadvertent criminalisation, according to a report due to be published at the end of this month.

Language and cultural barriers are the two main problems facing migrant workers, from job adverts only being written in English to lack of access to English courses, according to a summary of the report.

And despite being well established enough to have set up cafes and shops there is a poor understanding of their culture by existing communities, it says.

The full findings are due to be outlined at an event on January 30 to all the organisations involved in the report, part of a project led by the Dereham Area Partnership.


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An action plan on how some of the issues can be addressed will also be launched at the event at Dereham's Aldiss Park ground.

Research was carried out over two years, funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Breckland Council, after it was found there had been no assessment of migrant workers needs in the market town of Dereham and the surrounding area.

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Linda Whiteley the project co-ordinator with the DAP said: "It has been a very worthwhile project and has identified a number of issues that need to be addressed in the future.'

A summary of the report, which focuses on the lives of migrants in the market town of Dereham and its surrounding area, states the two main problems are language and cultural barriers.

'There was a risk of marginalisation as ignorance of English law and the language barriers led to inadvertent criminalisation,' it said.

'People were open to exploitation and social problems existed due to low pay etc.'

Interpretation and translation services were oversubscribed and often came at a cost, there was unwillingness of new and existing communities to integrate and there was a poor understanding of migrant workers.

Essential services migrants needed were also patchy, often not adapted for migrants and only produced in English or on the internet.

Employers were positive about workers but staff were often over qualified, their native qualifications were not recognised and job adverts were mostly in English.

However, employers did provide accommodation and helped people set up bank accounts.

Anyone interested in the project or attending the launch, from 10am to 12.20pm, can contact the DAP on 01362 695375 or e-mail richard.dap@btopenworld.com.

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