More Immigrants ‘Want To Stay’

The proportion of Eastern European immigrants who intend to settle in Britain increases fourfold within months of them coming here, research shows. Researchers at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) found that many Eastern European migrants choose to settle in Britain permanently despite early intentions to stay for only a short time.

They found women were more likely to decide to stay than men, as were those with higher than average earnings. Their findings are sure to be seized on by those calling for tougher controls on immigration from Eastern Europe. The number of workers coming from former communist countries has outstripped early Government estimates by hundreds of thousands.

But ministers point out that many migrants benefit the UK by filling skills and labour gaps that cannot be met by the UK-born population. The findings came from a survey of 333 people from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bulgaria in April 2004.

It revealed that 18 out of 307 people (6%) planned to live in Britain permanently when they first entered the country 18 months earlier. When asked if they still intended to stay in Britain, 76 people (24%) said they intended to stay permanently.

Four out of 10 told researchers from Oxford and Sussex universities that Britons treated them as equals, but three out of 10 said they did not. Meanwhile only a third knew how to register with a doctor and only half had received information on the conditions attached to their immigration status.