How Can You Help? Integration into UK Society
If the UK is going to become a truly harmonious and stable country, and we are going to avoid the ethnic ghettos created in previous generations, integration of newcomers is vital. For those seeking asylum, this is not easy. They do not have the financial resources to take part in social activities that others take for granted, and have limited opportunities to learn English since access to ESOL classes has been severely reduced in recent budget cuts. Put into shared asylum accommodation, it is easy to become isolated from mainstream society.
There are three core things that make for good integration. They are:
- The ablity to speak good English. This is key to communication, social inclusion and finding good employment.
- Engaging with the indigenous population. Those who do this inevitably progress much faster in many ways – socially, economically and even psychologically.
- Understanding the laws and culture of the host country. Many new arrivals find their integration badly hampered simply because they do not understand how things work in the UK.
Nothing can substitute for the will and determination of the individual to learn how to navigate the complexities of a new society: you cannot force someone to integrate unless they want to do so. Nevertheless, there are ways in which we can help the process of integration: specific things we can do to offer a hand-up rather than a hand-out to those who want to grasp it.
You can find out some practical ways of aiding integration in the Quick Guide to Integration into UK society.