Tag Archives: Channel 4

Immigration archive: coming and going – Channel 4 News

ITN reporters in the 1960s quiz newly arrived immigrants on why they have moved to the UK – as well as asking those leaving these shores about their motivation.

The first large-scale influx of immigrants to the UK began in the late 1940s, with the government encouraging mass immigration to the “mother country” from the British Empire and Commonwealth to fill the gaps in the labour market created by six years of war.

In 1948, the ship MV Empire Windrush arrived carrying the first 500 West Indians tempted by the promise of jobs and better living standards. Although they faced hostility from the trade unions, many found employment with British Rail, the NHS or on the public transport system, but they faced problems finding places to live and dealing with often very overt racism from the white majority.

Immigration on the rise

Immigration steadily increased year on year, until the government introduced curbs in the Immigration Act of 1962 and by 1972 only holders of work permits, or people with parents or grandparents born in the UK, could gain entry – effectively stemming most Caribbean immigration.

Between 1955 and 1962, ITN often sent reporters to quiz those arriving in London on their plans. The first video is a compilation of interviews from 1961 by Desmond Grealy (April 1961) and Brian Wildlake (October 1961) carried out at Victoria Station. After a long journey to a foreign country, it is perhaps not a surprise that the travellers were somewhat nonplussed to find a camera crew and a man with a microphone asking their views on immigration and “Have you got a job?” or “Have you got a place to live?”.

Full article via Immigration archive: coming and going – Channel 4 News.


Immigration Nation: one man’s journey from Somalia – Channel 4 News

Politicians often blame immigrants for not doing enough to integrate into society. But do they know what integration means? Jamal Osman shares his experience of moving to London from Somalia.

Is integration about mixing with the Brits or speaking the Queen’s English? Is it about dressing in certain ways, eating certain food, listening to British music?

In my experience, integration has different connotations for different people. And in my 14 years of living in this country, my interpretation of it has been changing.

At first, I thought integration was about going down the pub and having a pint, which I couldn’t do for religious reasons. Then I developed an obsession with the weather but found it difficult to continue talking about it. Later, I became addicted to eating fish and chips but soon got tired of it.

Today, after all those years, I don’t really know what it means to be integrated.

Who knows where I would be?

I came to this country from Somalia in my early 20s with no family and very little English. It took me two years to be comfortable with life in London: when I got my refugee status and started working full-time.

I became more confident using phrases like, “innit”, “you know what I mean”, and so on.

Like many other immigrants, I appreciate the opportunity this country has given me to better myself and to achieve something in life. The compassionate immigration system allowed me to have the same rights (in most cases) as everyone else.

The generous welfare enabled me to get assistance when I needed it. The high-quality British education improved my knowledge of the world and helped me realise my aspirations.

Who knows where I would be had I not come here.

Full article via Immigration Nation: one man’s journey from Somalia – Channel 4 News.

Southampton’s immigration decade – Channel 4 News

Around 20 per cent of Southampton’s residents were born abroad – making it a perfect place to gauge the pros and cons of being an immigration nation.

In this port city a decade ago there lived just a few hundred Polish immigrants. Now there are more than 8,000 here, along with their restaurants, grocers, butchers and insurance brokers.

Southampton has been absorbing immigrants ever since the Huguenots fled to the city in the 17th century, and now about a fifth of the residents here were born outside the UK.

While some are relaxed about this, others complain of too many immigrants – one person telling me: “The floodgates are open.”

At St Mark’s primary school 49 languages are spoken by the pupils – among them two types of Zulu and Punjabi.

The school holds Polish coffee mornings to guide parents through their children’s curriculum, while upstairs Miss Kay from Lithuania takes a reception class.

A decade ago the school was classified as 86 per cent white English. Now that figure is 41 per cent. Headteacher Anne Steele-Arnett is positive about the benefits for the children: “This is their norm, this is what they’re growing up with and this will be their strength. They will be able to mix, they will be able to integrate.”

Increased demands

But the pressure on public services is evident. A thousand more babies are being born in the city each year than a decade ago. Another secondary school may have to be built.

via Southampton’s immigration decade – Channel 4 News.

Ad that started Leicester’s multicultural evolution – Channel 4 News

The warnings over immigration shares many of the themes previously aired in the 1970s. Channel 4 News’s Darshna Soni describes one city’s experience of a previous wave of immigrants.

Taking a stroll along Leicester’s Belgrave Road, it is hard to imagine that Ugandan Asians were once warned that they were not welcome in the city.

The area is dominated by Asian businesses and is known as the “Golden Mile”. You can buy anything from incense and idols, to glittering gold in lavish designs and the latest swanky saris.

Yet in 1972, when Idi Amin told 60,000 Asians they had just 90 days to pack their bags and leave, Leicester city council took out an advertisement telling them not to come to the city. Headlined “An important announcement,” it read, “In your own interests and those of your family you should… not come to Leicester.”

The ad, of course, backfired spectacularly. My parents were among thousands who read the ad and were curious to find out why the council would go to such trouble as to take out an ad in the Ugandan papers – and so they decided to come to Leicester to find out. Today, the city has the highest proportion of Asians in the whole country and it is predicted that white residents will soon be a minority.

Biggest assets

The city council has since admitted the ads were a mistake and Leicester describes its diverse communities as its biggest assets. The city is often held up as an example of multicultural success, as Britain’s most ethnically harmonious city.

The ads are a fascinating slice of social history. But if you read them carefully, many of their themes can be found in today’s immigration debates.

They warn of pressures on social housing, education and healthcare – themes that some have been accused of exploiting as Britain prepares to lift working restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians next year. Earlier this year, the coalition government was accused of planning a similar advertising campaign.

via Ad that started Leicester’s multicultural evolution – Channel 4 News.

Immigrant experiences in David Cameron’s Britain – Channel 4 News

Two years ago David Cameron delivered a hard-headed speech criticising new migrants who were unwilling to integrate, writes Kunal Dutta. These groups, he said, had created “disjointedness” in communities that had fuelled local resentment and galvanised support for Ukip and the BNP.

Coming hard on the heels of an election pledge to reduce net migration from “hundreds of thousands” to “tens of thousands” by the end of 2015, it fired the starting gun on immigration reform.

And new figures suggest the target could be met. Net migration fell from 255,000 in the year to 2010 to 163,000 in July 2012.

That has been accompanied by an immigration crackdown, including proposals banning new migrants from social housing waiting lists for at least five years, and restricting access to benefits and the NHS.

Social consequences

Now critics fear there are deeper social consequences that are yet to be understood. In a paper to be published today, Oxford University’s Migration Observatory, warns that the drop only tells one side of the story.

Spokesman Scott Blinder says: “For many people, the impact of migration on the ‘feel’ of the community or country they live in may be more important than traditional measures of economic or social impact.”

All of this has caught Labour off guard. Earlier this year Ed Miliband admitted that his party had failed to heed voters’ concerns and said its entire approach required rethinking. In January next year Britain will lift EU working restrictions for Bulgaria and Romania, creating new challenges.

But what is the human effect? As both parties prepare to trade blows on immigration ahead of the 2015 election, how are newcomers to Britain feeling?

Tell us your experiences: #immigrationnation

Shahid Aly

42, a taxi driver from Newport, Wales. Originally from Pakistan (pictured second left)

“Things have got a lot harder since 2011. First of all, the recession has created greater strain. I now work around 15 hours a day because far fewer people are taking cabs than before.

“But the recession has other effects. Newport is changing. There are more eastern Europeans settling here than any time I remember. Many of the new migrants are from Bulgaria and Romania and choosing Newport because it’s cheaper to live here than many other UK cities.

Full article via Immigrant experiences in David Cameron’s Britain – Channel 4 News.

Immigration archive: Ugandan Asians in Leicester (1972) – Channel 4 News

In 1972, Idi Amin expelled Uganda’s Asians, many of whom were British citizens and settled in the UK. At the time, ITN visited Leicester to find out how immigrants were coping.

On 4 August 1972, the then president of Uganda, Idi Amin, gave the Indian and Pakistani minorities in the country 90 days to leave, accusing them of hoarding wealth and sabotaging the economy, writes Ian Searcey.

Many of the displaced were British citizens and as a result emigrated in their thousands to the UK, where they waited in various refugee camps, including Greenham Common in Berkshire and Stradiahall in Suffolk, for new homes and work.

Many headed for Leicester, a key city in the resettlement programme, as it had the largest Asian community in Britain at that time (and still does in relation to its size).

Full article via Immigration archive: Ugandan Asians in Leicester (1972) – Channel 4 News.


Immigration Nation: how tolerant is modern Britain? – Channel 4 News

The political sabre-rattling, rarely subdued, has been particularly shrill of late. Andy Davies introduces our series on how Britain is responding to the challenge of immigration.

Accused once of being too scared to discuss the topic, now politicians can’t seem to shut up about immigration.

In recent months we’ve seen party leader after party leader grab the headlines, adopting a now familiar-looking “benign belligerent” role on the issue. The message, crudely, goes something like this: we like immigrants (as the speeches usually always start), but woe betide anyone who takes the p***. Or as David Cameron recently put it: “While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration… ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare”.

Recently the Labour leader Ed Miliband devoted an entire party political broadcast to immigration, a first for his party. While Nick Clegg weighed in with his Liberal Democrat version: “Tolerant Britain, zero-tolerant of abuse”. For critics, this is the stuff of “dog-whistle” politics, triggered, they say, by sheer panic at the rise of the UK Independence Party. The main political parties merely call it a more mature and honest debate.

Full Article via Channel 4:  Immigration Nation: how tolerant is modern Britain? – Channel 4 News.