London is a global city. Over a third of Londoners were born abroad and more than 200 languages are spoken every day. Now, as in the past, migration fosters an environment for the exchange of ideas and skills which contribute to London’s economic growth and cultural vibrancy. Managing migration is essential to maximising its benefits and supporting integration vital to minimising its costs.
In 2009, the Mayor of London set out his strategy for refugee integration in London, London Enriched, to guide the implementation of his vision for integration over the period covering 2009-2012. In 2010, an updated plan widened the strategy to include migrants as well as refugees.
London Enriched defines integration as a two-way street built on positive engagement between refugees and migrants and settled communities. The aim of this strategy is to enable individuals to achieve their full potential and contribute fully to the community in which they live. These aims are pursued in the broader context of the Mayor’s priorities on jobs and growth.
Description of the initiative
Patterns of migration to London are different from those in the rest of the UK. More Londoners were born overseas than ever before and more people come from abroad to London than anywhere else in the UK. There is greater diversity in countries of origin and there also tends to be more temporary migration to London than to the rest of the country. The focus of the Mayor’s refugee and migrant integration strategy has been, and remains, to target those in need of the most support to integrate, whether due to the nature of their migration or their circumstances in London after arrival.
Understanding and speaking English is essential to all aspects of integration. Good English makes it more likely to be in work, more able to find the information on local services and more likely to feel part of local decision-making. Speaking good English is also linked to more positive attitudes towards community cohesion and feeling safe in the local area. This is why increasing access to learning English has been, and remains, the key priority in delivering London Enriched.
Flagship programmes under the “London Enriched” strategy would be English – Key to Integration in London, and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training for Jobcentre Plus (JC+)
The English – Key to Integration in London programme was launched in October 2013 as part of the third bidding round of the London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF). The £2 million programme received £500,000 from the LSEF and £1.5m from the European Integration Fund (EIF) administered by the Home Office.
The main goal of the programme is to improve schools’ capacity in teaching children with English as an additional language (EAL) in primary and secondary schools by creating a learning environment to improve achievement of non-EU pupils; teach non-EU mothers English and improve their involvement with their child’s education.
ESOL for JC+ :
The Greater London Authority held workshops in November 2012 and June 2013 to improve the pre-employment English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) training for Jobcentre Plus (JC+) customers.
The first workshop held in November 2012, ESOL works: building on best practice for supporting people in to work focused on building local partnerships between JCP offices and Skills Funding Agency (SFA) ESOL providers to identify, assess and refer JCP customers with pre-employment English language needs.
The second workshop held in June 2013, ESOL works: embedding good practice for supporting people into work reflected on progress made in partnership working since the first workshop. It then identified approaches that are effective in improving employability outcomes for JCP customers with ESOL needs.
The workshops were supported by Jobcentre Plus, the Skills Funding Agency, the Association of Colleges and the National Careers Service. The workshops and reports are part of London Enriched, the Mayor of London’s refugee and migrant integration strategy. This ongoing work is led by the London Strategic Migration Partnership (LSMP) and supports the London Enterprise Panel’s Jobs and Growth Plan for London to increase job opportunities and ensure disadvantaged groups have the skills they need to succeed.
Implementation of the initiative
The contribution of partners and stakeholders over the last three years has made delivery possible. In particular, the London Strategic Migration Partnership (LSMP), chaired by the Deputy Mayor and supported by the UKBA coordinated delivery with partner agencies and organisations. The work of the LSMP was supported by the Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel (MRAP) who brought community perspective to the delivery of the strategy. The leadership of the Regional Public Health Group on the LSMP health link body, and of voluntary organisations on the LSMP Community Development Link Body, were significant.
Coordinating essential integration services for newly recognised refugees
The Refugee Integration and Employment Service provided assistance to newly recognised refugees on getting work and a place to live. This programme ended in March 2011 and the GLA brought together key service providers in London to ensure that information was still available for transition into life in London. Working with UKBA, Refugee Council, Job Centre Plus, Clearel Ltd, the document provides clear signposting to ensure a smoother transition between agencies. To complement this document, Homeless Link was commissioned to produce a refugee micro-site on its revamped Homeless London website. The micro-site provides an up to date directory of over 250 points of services, as well as details of finding suitable private accommodation and entitlement for assistance if needed.
Making an impact through cross agency working
By bringing together UKBA with stakeholders in London, we were able to improve their services to Londoners. The Right First Time project brought together UKBA case owners and Asylum Aid to recommend models of more effective and timely communication between UKBA case owners and legal representatives. The best practice recommendations were shared with the Home Office Asylum Improvement Project and the findings implemented into national processes to improve the speed and quality of asylum decisions.
Working with UKBA on guarding against illegal working, we were able to raise awareness among employers on the different work eligibility criteria of refugees and migrants, enabling them to hire confidently from London’s diverse workforce.
Mainstreaming across mayoral priorities
Across the core objectives of London Enriched, actions that were best delivered in the context of meeting the needs of all Londoners were undertaken across the GLA group to in Mayoral commitments, including the Mayor’s Health Inequalities Strategy, the Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, the Mayor’s Economic Growth Strategy and the Mayors’ Draft Housing Strategy.
Resources dedicated to the initiative
Budgets are allocated to specific projects
Human resources dedicated to the initiative
The work on integration is led by two officers from the GLA
Number of refugees reached by the initiative: English the Key to Integration reach: In total the 13 projects worked with 85 schools, 733 teachers received training with 4,470 TCN EAL pupils being supported through guided EAL learning, 982 Third Country National EAL mothers attended ESOL classes and 936 mother involvement activities.
- Improving opportunities for effective English Language learning
- Against a backdrop of funding eligibility changes, the GLA implemented recommendations from commissioned independent expert reports in a number of key areas:
- Improving the English for Speaker of Other Languages (ESOL) training Jobcentre Plus customers need to get into work.
- Successfully making the case to government for Skills Funding Agency providers to have wider discretion on which learners can access ESOL
- Working with government departments to increase community-based English language learning for those with low levels of English.
Critical success factors
London Enriched highlighted the lack of comprehensive information on refugee and migrant integration in London. Over the last three years, research has formed an important part of the programme in order to ensure policies are based on evidence
A unique and ground-breaking refugee survey was carried out to establish a baseline against which progress could be monitored. The survey informed the priorities of the London Strategic Migration Partnership and its members. The survey will be revisited in the 2013-2016 period to monitor changes in levels of integration.
This comprehensive picture of migration in London has been used by other researchers and policy makers as an authoritative picture of migration in London. The 2011 census data released in 2012 and 2013 will serve as a basis for a review of the migration picture in London.
Two significant studies on English Language were commissioned by the GLA to provide policy analysis and recommendations on increasing quality and access to English Language courses for different groups of refugees and migrants. The studies have improved delivery of existing services, influenced new funding for London and highlighted where new work needs to be done to address gaps in provision.
These are some of the preparation activities implemented by the GLA to mainstream their project and implement relevant solutions to integrate new populations.
Furthermore, the GLA maintains close links with other local and national public services through the London Strategic Migration Partnership (LSMP) – a partnership that exists in other urban areas where it is mostly dedicated to the dispersal of refugees.
GLA also ensures the relevance of its actions through consultation with the Migrant and Refugee Advisory Panel (MRAP) and with the support of the GLA’s statistical office.
Delivery of London Enriched took place against a backdrop of serious economic challenges; for Londoners, for employers, for public bodies and for voluntary sector partners. This had an impact on the ability of our partners to deliver some of the actions, while at the same time many experienced greater need from refugees and migrants in accessing their services.
Simultaneously, significant structural changes in the areas of English language skills funding, the NHS, employment support services, immigration and refugee integration services took place. The challenge was to ensure that in the new structures and models, best practice on integration was taken forward or taken on board.