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Bulgarian Immigration and Community Cohesion in London and

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Bulgarian Immigration and Community
Cohesion in London and Brighton
Eugenia Markova
Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics
Richard Black
Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of
Sussex
Bulgarians in the UK - what’s known
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Bulgarian immigrants in the UK: made the headlines
in spring 2004 – the alleged visa scam
Bulgarian immigrants: dramatic re-appearance in the
press in summer 2006
October 2006: limited access of Bulgarian &
Romanian immigrants to the UK labour market after
EU accession
Legal routes of entry to the UK labour
market
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Since 1994: self-employment visas under the
European Community Association Agreement (ECAA)
March 2002-March 2005: 2,422 ECAA visas
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Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS)
2005: work permits issued to 2,867 Bulgarian nationals
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The Sector Based Scheme (SBS)
2004: work permits issued to 1,424 Bulgarian nationals
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The High-Skilled Migration Programme (HSMP)
2002 (start of HSMP): 6 applications approved to
Bulgarians; 2005: 40 applications approved.
Background
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This presentation on Bulgarian immigrants in the UK
is extracted from a large survey of five non-EU
nationalities:Albanians, Serbians, Russians,
Ukrainians and Bulgarians and long-term residents,
living with them in the same neighbourhoods
Localities: two London Boroughs of Hackney &
Harrow, the City of Brighton & Hove
Field work: June-November 2005
Quantitative survey: 388 new immigrants [85
Bulgarians] & 402 long-term residents
In-depth interviews
Study localities
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The London Borough of Hackney: inner-London
Borough; population of just over 200,00; phenomenal
ethnic diversity; GLA Ethnicity index – third most
diverse local authority in the UK
The London Borough of Harrow: outer-London
Borough; population of just over 200,000; fifth
nationally in terms of proportion of non-white
residents; a third of residents born in 137 different
countries; 2,040 born in EE
The City of Brighton & Hove: South coast; low
rate of ethnic diversity; predominantly white
population
Immigration and community cohesion: a
key relationship
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Main concern: experience of Bulgarian immigrants in
the UK - labour market, their broader interaction with
local communities, and the issue of community
cohesion
Operationalising community cohesion:
employment, education, housing
sense of �belonging’ in the neighbourhood and in the
UK
extent to which diversity is respected
expectations for the future
participation in community activities
Bulgarians coming to the UK
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30
N u m b e r o f a rr iva ls
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20
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10
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0
05
20
04
20
03
20
02
20
01
20
00
20
99
19
98
19
97
19
96
19
95
19
91
19
Y ear of arrival in the UK
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Peak years: 2003 & 2004
N=35 (41%)
Couples rather than single
men: N=57 (67%) married
or had a partner
N=45 (79%) of partners in
UK, the rest – in Bulgaria,
usually women
N=45 (79%) of partners of
Bulgarian origin; N=12
(21%) - other ethnicity
N=41 (48%) with dependent
children; Most of them in UK
Legal status
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Temporary, with a right to work
Dependents
Permanent residents
�Semi-legal’
Student
Temporary, not allowed to work
Undocumented
42% (N=36)
18% (N=15)
17% (N=14)
8% (N=7)
6% (N=5)
5% (N=4)
5% (N=4)
Reasons for coming to the UK
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More than half in the sample left Bulgaria for economic reasons:
�not earning enough’ (29%)
�could not see any prospects for improvement of economic
conditions’ (13%)
�unemployed’ (4%)
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Bulgarians came to the UK because of:
�ease of entry’ (45%)
�family and friends in the UK’ (37%)
�studies’ (8%)
NONE OF THE BULGARIANS IN THE SAMPLE CAME
BECAUSE OF WELFARE BENEFITS
Education
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Educational background
No qualifications – 1% (N=1)
Secondary education or college – 47% (N=40)
University or above – 52% (N=44)
Most of Bulgarians in the sample had completed
education in their origin country
Language skills on arrival
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40
30
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20
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Fre q u e n cy
10
0
Fluent
Adequate
Basi c
Level of English on arrival
None
More than two thirds of
Bulgarians in the sample
reported �none’ or �basic’
level of English on arrival
A quarter spoke no English
at all
More Bulgarian women
(46%) than men (23%)
reported �fluent’ or
�adequate’ English on arrival
Current English language skills
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40
30
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20
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Fre q u e n cy
10
0
Fluent
Current level of English
Adequate
Basi c
None
More than three quarters
reported �fluent’ or
�adequate’ current level of
English
These are self-reported
levels of competence
83% of Bulgarian women
reported �fluent’ or
�adequate current level of
English, compared to 74% of
men
Housing
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Almost three quarters of Bulgarians interviewed lived
in private rented housing in all three localities
Owner-occupiers – 12% (N=10), residence in UK=510 yrs
Common routes for finding accommodation – family,
friends, other Bulgarians (44%); letting agency
(28%)
Living with non-family members (NFM)– 57% (N=48,
of them: 23 living with another 1-2 NFM; 19 – with 35 NFM; 6 – with 6-10 NFM)
Labour market (1)
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Employment prior to the UK
Professions varied: from doctors, accountants,
midwifes, nurses to tennis coaches, fitness
instructors, shop-owners, taxi drivers and locksmiths
Not all were in employment – 28% students, 4%
unemployed
Just under a quarter worked in another foreign
country – 10 different countries; mainly, Germany,
Greece, Libya=> most “first time emigrants”
Labour market (2)
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Bulgarian immigrants’ first employment in UK
Main sectors: construction (men); personal services (women);
hotel & restaurant sector (both men & women)
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Bulgarian immigrants’ current employment:
Never worked – 11% (N=9); mainly women - dependants
Very high employment rate – only 1 unemployed
Majority in full-time employment
Self-employed – 20% (N=15, 4 – through an agency)
Only 4 working illegally, in agriculture & construction; 7 – �semi-legal’,
in health, personal services, hotels and construction
Jobs: 50% - process, plant & elementary occupations; 20% managerial, professional; 16% - administrative & skilled trades; 15% personal services
Labour market (3)
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Finding & changing employment
Most important way for finding first/current job – �through other
Bulgarians’
Two thirds working for a White British employer; 11% - for a
SEE employer; 9% - another Bulgarian
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Wages
24% (N=15) of economically active earning below
ВЈ5, the National Minimum Wage Rate
No men working below ВЈ4 an hour, just 2 women
Low wages prevalent in Hackney and less so in
Brighton
Labour market (4)
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Working hours:
Bulgarian immigrants were more likely than the other groups in
the study to work over 45 hours per week; more women than
men.
Those with permanent status were more likely to work longer
hours.
Only 8% of economically active Bulgarians were doing more
than one job.
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Membership of a trade union:
Bulgarians – the only immigrant group in the survey without a
single trade union member
Cohesion in diverse communities (1)
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Sense of �belonging’
Belonging to the neighbourhood
Real lack of identification amongst Bulgarians and the other
immigrant groups surveyed with the neighbourhood they were
living in (two thirds of Bulgarians felt they did not belong to it)
Belonging to Britain
More than half of Bulgarians felt they belonged �strongly’ or
�fairly strongly’ to Britain
Bulgarians in Brighton with weakest sense of belonging to
Britain: N=18, 62% felt they did not belong to Britain,
compared to 7 (24%) in Hackney and 10 (35%) in Harrow
Why this weak feeling of belonging to
neighbourhood?
Weaker belonging in Britain because of stronger belonging in
the home country?
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Belonging to Bulgaria
95% (81) belonged, 59 (70%)– �very strongly’; 4(5%) – felt
they belonged not very strongly to Bulgaria
Those in Brighton – weaker sense of belonging to Bulgaria than
those in London
Belonging to the Borough
Belonging to Borough stronger than belonging to the
neighbourhood
Bulgarians in Brighton more pessimistic about belonging than
those in London (only 2 in Brighton felt �fairly strongly’ to the
City, 11 – in Hackney, 12 – in Harrow)
Other factors affecting neighbourhood
belonging
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Of those who would return to Bulgaria soon, just
15% with return plans in the next three years said
they belong compared to 57% without return plans
Bulgarians with children in the UK; home owners and
men – stronger sense of belonging
Language ability, occupation, age and legal status –
not associated to belonging to the neighbourhood
Valuing diversity
Three measures are used
Whether the individuals believed that:
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a)
their neighbourhoods are places where people get on well
together
Bulgarians had the most positive stance in the survey about this – 81%
definitely agreeing or tended to agree with this proposition; this was
much lower for the other groups in the survey; 83% in Hackney,
69% in Brighton
b)
neighbourhoods are places where people help each other
c)
And, frequency of talking to neighbours
�Neighbourhood is a place where people
help each other’
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Bulgarians were much more positive than the
other groups in the survey – one in three
agreeing with it; Albanians – most pessimistic
Bulgarians and Russians in the sample – less
likely to report they talked to neighbours
frequently; 17 Bulgarians (20%) never talked
to neighbours; 5 (6%) – never spoke to local
people; they had no children, recent arrivals
Interactions between immigrants and
long-term residents
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At one extreme – marriage and co-habitation
Most of Bulgarians (84%, N=48) with a Bulgarian partner; just
7% (N=4) with an English person
Role of social networks
75% of Bulgarians (N=64) had friends from a different ethnic
group, usually former socialist countries
In case of a problem – more than three quarter relied on their
partners or Bulgarian housemates, relatives or friends; 3 said
�nobody to help’
Cooperation at work
Almost all working Bulgarians believed people at work respected
each other; only 3 said they did not
More than half were working with people from other ethnic
groups; only 8 (11%) working with other Bulgarians
Expectations from life in the UK
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Stable job to pay for a decent living
�quiet life’
“I like my life in the UK, that’s why I have chosen to live here. I want a quiet life and to be able to travel
with my family everywhere in the world-I want everything that a normal person wishes to achieve”.
(Bulgarian, Hackney, M, 28)
Plans to return to Bulgaria
Bulgarians with higher intentions for return than the other groups
in the sample
Those in Brighton more likely to return
Few Bulgarians felt the return was imminent; more than half did
not know when, only 2 with a fixed date
�Earning enough money’ and �improvement in the economic
situation in Bulgaria’ – the most important factors for return
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Community participation
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Whether people feel they can influence decisions at local level
Just a quarter of Bulgarians felt they could do so
A quarter had undertaken action to solve a local problem
(contacted the appropriate organisation, local radio, MP)
Volunteering
Only 3 (4%) Bulgarians had volunteered in the last 12 months
compared to 30% Ukrainians, 31% Serbians, 27% Russians,
26% Albanians
Involvement in groups, clubs
More than half of Bulgarians (55%) involved in clubs, mainly
sports clubs; none of the Bulgarians – members of a political
party or religious organisation
Bulgarians and Russians – more likely to be members of an
ethnic community group
Conclusion
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Bulgarians in the selected localities in UK differed significantly
from those in Athens, Greece and Madrid, Spain: better
educated, more families with children than in Greece but less
than in Spain
Bulgarians that arrived in UK in 2000 and after were competing
in a more crowded labour & housing markets since East
European immigration had grown
Stereotypes of Bulgarians - potential welfare dependents,
Albanians - linked to organised crime and Russians - wealthy
newcomers interested in football are very wide from the mark
A better image would be of hard working individuals supporting
their families
Should the government, and civil society
pay more attention to East Europeans?
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