The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Social Integration is pleased to announce the launch of an inquiry into integration and immigration.
As chair of the APPG, Chuka Umunna MP, has argued, our national debate on immigration focusses almost exclusively on the number of migrants entering the country – politicians, policymakers and commentators do not devote nearly enough attention to understanding and responding to the impact immigration has on our communities. If not managed properly, rapid demographic and cultural change can put pressure on local public services and threaten people’s sense of security and belonging within their communities.
Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest both that these issues are exacerbated where migrants and members of host communities do not meet, mix and lead shared lives; and that our society is becoming more segregated as we grow more diverse.
To explore how the government might reform the immigration system to put migrant integration at its heart, the APPG on Social Integration is launching an inquiry into integration and immigration.
Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Chuka Umunna MP said: “The debate on immigration has unfortunately become increasingly polarised. One group of voices claims that Britain is full and that it’s time to shut our borders. Others insist there’s no problem at all.
“Politicians and policy makers should be less shy in acknowledging that immigration can, but doesn’t have to, put pressure on local public services and communities. All too often the debate around immigration tries to provide an accountants answer to a cultural problem. We need to look at these issues differently and find solutions to bring communities together where they are living parallel and completely separate lives.”
There is no central government strategy to promote migrant integration and it is unclear where responsibility for this lies within Whitehall.
The new post-Brexit immigration system should be designed so as to better support communities to manage demographic and cultural change, and to promote trust between migrants and members of the existing community.
As part of the inquiry, the APPG will hold an Evidence Session in Westminster Palace on Monday 5 September. The attendees will have the opportunity to hear from the High Commissioner of Australia to the United Kingdom, the Hon Alexander Downer AC, and from a range of experts in the fields of immigration and integration.
A call for evidence for this inquiry will be released shortly.