#ChallengingRacism report dispels migrant myths

In a publication that is reminiscent of the NI Peace Monitoring Reporting, two QUB academics have collated statistics across a range of topics – population, employment, housing, benefits, economy, healthcare, education, crime and social cohesion – in order to dispel (rather than substantiate) some of the myths about migrants.

UKIP’s MLA David McNarry challenged some of the figures in the report on Good Morning Ulster, and introduced some more of his own. Helpfully the report is littered with cross references to the source of statistics (and often URLs) to allow the facts and figures to be verified and if necessary disputed.

In late 2013 …The Sun newspaper hysterically claimed: ‘a tidal wave of Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants is threatening to swamp Britain – and flood our overstretched jobs’. The “tidal wave” failed to arrive.

The Challenging Racism report cites a 2010 study on public attitudes towards migrant workers in Northern Ireland which highlighted:

70% of respondents felt that migrants put a strain on services (e.g. social housing, education, and healthcare);

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed felt that migrant workers take jobs away from people born in Northern Ireland.

In parallel, racially-motivated offences are on the up:

Between 2013 and 2014 there has been a 43% increase in racially-motivated offences, with 70% of these occurring in Belfast. During the present reporting period, the PSNI has noted that racially motivated crimes in Northern Ireland have risen by more than 50%.

Eastern European population NINorthern Ireland has welcomed relatively few newcomers to society. The NI Census from 2011 says that 5% of the population are blow ins from have a place of origin in England, Scotland and Wales. According to the census, less than 2% of the NI population are from Eastern Europe.

Non-UK and Ireland migrants constitute 3.8% of the population and 4% of the Northern Ireland workforce.

Most migrants in Northern Ireland rent privately and do not claim social housing.

NI Housing Executive figures show that between July 2012 and July 2013, there were 1,032 migrant worker households out of 89,000 households;

Between 2012 and 2013, 1.2% of social housing tenants were migrant workers;

The population of economic migrants at 3.8% is actually under-represented within the social housing stock.

The report argues that myths about ‘welfare scroungers’ and ‘benefit tourism’ can be “debunked by the fact that, in the UK, recent Immigrants are actually 21% less likely than the established population to be receiving benefits”.

Far from being a burden on society, ethnic minority enterprises in the UK contribute £13 billion a year to the British economy. Moreover, it is estimated that migrant workers actually contributed around £1.2 billion to the Northern Irish economy from 2004 to 2008.

Crime proved contentious on Good Morning Ulster with David McNarry quoting figures for migrant convictions without qualifying them with overall percentages or comparisons with other groups of a similar socio-economic banding in the same areas of Northern Ireland.

The report’s authors examined council “wards in Belfast in which at least 10% of the population stated in the 2011 Census that their nationality was neither British nor Irish” and found that they have “generally experienced a fall in crime”.

In 2002 there were 19,287 recorded crimes within these wards. By 2013 the number of offences recorded within those wards fell to 14,636, an overall decline of 24.1%. Only one of the 12 wards witnessed a growth in recorded crime … [Ed – I can think of other well-publicised factors around The Mount that would have affected its crime rate.]

Thus, in places of high in-migration there is no link between rising crime levels and migration. In fact, evidence shows that crime has actually decreased in these areas with higher percentages of migrants.

Crime in Belfast wards

The report concludes:

Racism is not only morally wrong – the views which attempt to justify it, in terms of ‘threats’ to resources, are also factually wrong. People do have genuine concerns about scarce resources, particularly in times of recession. But we also have to look at the facts and not fall for anti-immigrant scaremongering or myths about migrants ‘taking our jobs’.

It is important that we do not allow socio-economic concerns to manifest as prejudice. When such negative attitudes become ‘acceptable’ in a given context, perpetrators of hate crime can feel that it is therefore ‘OK’ to attack newcomers to Northern Ireland.

Moreover, migration is not threatening ‘our way of life’. To the contrary, our own divisions in Northern Ireland continuously threaten political, economic and social stability. We must accept that Northern Ireland is a changing place.

In this way, there is a stark choice to make between remaining mired in exclusion and division and embracing a more peaceful and prosperous society – which is not only welcoming to newcomers but significantly benefits from them too. [emphasis added]

Challenging Racism: Ending Hate was published by the Centre For Democracy and Peace Building and QUB.

  • Haven`t had time to read it – does it deal with wage compression or the fact Northern Ireland already has some of the lowest wages inc some council areas with the highest % of minimum wage workers in the UK?

  • Neil

    Wage compression sounds like a myth to me. Our fellow Europeans have the same right to the same wages as our locals, and they are well aware of it. Yes there are a lot of low paying jobs here, but I doubt very much that if every Polish person returned to Poland tomorrow McDonald’s would start dishing out pay rises. The low wages existed before any immigration came into play.
    There seems to be this idea that (well educated) eastern Europeans come here to live in a shed and pick potatos for a living for 2 quid an hour, leading to lower wages for some gormless local (who would have had that plumb gig picking spuds had it not been for those damned immigrants). The Polish and Czech people I know work hard, in IT and catering, and are paid the same as their local colleagues in both cases. The real problem may be that they make more attractive employees as they tend to work harder and seem to have some common sense and a lower sense of entitlement.

  • submariner

    Have to agree with Neil,during the course of my employment i would have contact with foreign nationals and have found them to have an excellent work ethic, a lot of them are vastly over qualified for the jobs that they do but are keen to earn even the minimum wage as it is quite a bit more than what they can earn in their home countries.All this nonsense being spouted by the right wing press and the likes of UKIP is nothing more than closet racism.

  • Dan

    You’d think with this report, with it’s aim of steamrollering with figures anyone who dares raise questions about the supposed benefits of uncontrolled immigration, and implying it’s racist to do so…well, you’d think their figures would add up.
    Well, the place of origin percentages stated in table 1 exceed 100%….and the total population figures dont match so, why bother reading any further?
    Bin it.

  • barnshee

    Facts don`t you just hate them

  • carl marks

    very few empty houses in nationalist areas indeed there is a housing shortage!
    perhaps if loyalists stopped driving everybody who was different out of their areas then there would not be so many houses available for rent and foreign workers would be more evenly distributed.
    This was in reply to Old Mortality’s post but for some reason the system would not accept it!

  • Tacapall

    Im not even going to bother reading it after hearing Jeffery Donaldson had something to do with it someones obviously getting shafted. Is there any votes up for grabs?


    Missing the point entirely. People have seen the absolute third world dumps that many English cities have been transformed into, and know that it will be exactly the same here if a stance is not taken now. Such a slippery slope is very real.

    As for “division” and conflict, well that occurs all over the world wherever “diversity” is introduced. Wherever “diversity” causes inevitable war between different diverse peoples the most sensible solution to ensure all diverse peoples can live in harmony is to create borders which ensure that each “diverse” people has its own homeland where they can enjoy their own way of life unrestricted. Yet the trend over the past 50 years has been to say that ethnic British (and most European) the people have not been allowed their own homeland, and “diversity” must be encouraged so that so-called national “ethnic minorities” (despite being larger interationally), must not only gain a new homeland in the ethnic British/ethnic white European homeland, but also have their existing ethnic homeland to be able to fall-back on too.

    The same applies to Ireland. Irish Nationalists already have their own 6x larger designated homeland as part of a quid-pro-quo yet demand more and more, with their desire for a benign-sounding “unity” nothing other than a demand for the eradication of the Ulster nationalist (the correct name for most “unionists” who certainly aren’t English, Scottish or Welsh) right to a homeland.

    If you want to ensure genuine “diversity” then you strengthen borders, if you want to increase chances of war and division you encourage “diversity” within a border — a tactic which leftist neo-Communist agenda has been successful at implementing over the past 50 years all across the West, for it requires quite a strong political dominance and continual brainwashing to ensure that “diverse” peoples can subdue their natural survival instincts and commit unnatural genocidal ethnic masochism/ethnic self-hatred for the sake of “diversity” .

  • Paddy Reilly

    One reason for the greater enthusiasm found among Eastern Europeans, as compared to local workers, is that UK (and Irish Republic) wages translate into a much greater sum when transferred back to Eastern Europe. A Latvian can work for 18 months in Ireland and then, with his savings, go home and buy a house: a local, having worked for that period, will be no better off than when he started. Unsurprisingly the local will show minimum enthusiasm for minimum wages, and instead be looking for something viable.

    Two factors are causing this imbalance: the hothouse economy, centred on London, where everything is more expensive than it needs to be, and the housing bubble, which stems from it. Unfortunately many people have a vested interest in continuing the housing bubble, including me.

  • submariner

    Flegger logic at its finest