Skip Navigation
Navigation Menu

Funding announced for migration research project

A multi-agency project to better understand migration in Fenland and help the district prepare for post-Brexit challenges has received £119,500 of government funding.

Twinning hands

Fenland District Council has received funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to lead a migrant research project in partnership with the police, fire service, ACCESS (Migrant Support), the National Farmers' Union (NFU), homeless charity The Ferry Project, Clarion Housing and the Rosmini Centre in Wisbech along with county, district and town councils.

The Migrant Worker Statistical Data project will help partners to fully understand the makeup and needs of Fenland's migrant population, assess the impact of migration on local communities, and plan ahead for any new migration to the area.

A pilot initiative, the project will also develop a data gathering toolkit to be shared nationally by the NFU, enabling other organisations to undertake similar research.

The grant comes from the Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) and will underpin other CMF projects the council is already delivering to tackle migrant homelessness, street drinking in Wisbech, rogue landlords and poor condition privately-rented homes.

Most of the existing data on migrants relates to workers who are legitimately employed and registered with HM Revenue and Customs or living in registered HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation). It doesn't include undocumented migrants who live and work 'under the radar', undetectable by statutory bodies; making many of them vulnerable and at risk of exploitation.

Partners hope the two-year research project will create an accurate record of migrant workers for the first time, with the data gathered enabling them to address existing issues and plan future service provision in the run up to and post-Brexit period.

Data gathering will be community-led to encourage as much engagement as possible, via partners migrants trust and already access support from, including the Rosmini Centre, ACCESS, the Ferry Project and Clarion Housing.

Local farmers, employers and agencies will also be contacted to record numbers of seasonal workers, migrant nationalities, accommodation and transport provision, as well as recruitment practices looking at how and where migrants are being recruited from. Partners believe farmers will get involved with the project having expressed concerns about the procurement of labour post-Brexit.

A Council spokesperson said: "Whilst there are many positives impacts from migration there nevertheless have been intense pressures placed upon community cohesion, public services, housing and integration in the area.

"By fully understanding migration in Fenland we can minimise increasing frustrations and potential community tensions, address migrant issues and prepare for any Brexit challenges we may face."

Article added: June 12, 2018