Bulgarian Immigration and Community Cohesion in London and Brighton. Eugenia Markova Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics Richard Black Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex. Bulgarians in the UK - what ’ s known.
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Hellenic Observatory, London School of Economics
Sussex Centre for Migration Research, University of Sussex
March 2002-March 2005: 2,422 ECAA visas
2005: work permits issued to 2,867 Bulgarian nationals
2004: work permits issued to 1,424 Bulgarian nationals
2002 (start of HSMP): 6 applications approved to Bulgarians; 2005: 40 applications approved.
‘not earning enough’ (29%)
‘could not see any prospects for improvement of economic conditions’ (13%)
‘ease of entry’ (45%)
‘family and friends in the UK’ (37%)
NONE OF THE BULGARIANS IN THE SAMPLE CAME BECAUSE OF WELFARE BENEFITS
Main sectors: construction (men); personal services (women); hotel & restaurant sector (both men & women)
Never worked – 11% (N=9); mainly women - dependants
Very high employment rate – only 1 unemployed
Majority in full-time employment
Self-employed – 20% (N=15, 4 – through an agency)
Only 4 working illegally, in agriculture & construction; 7 –‘semi-legal’, in health, personal services, hotels and construction
Jobs: 50% - process, plant & elementary occupations; 20% - managerial, professional; 16% - administrative & skilled trades; 15% - personal services
Most important way for finding first/current job –‘through other Bulgarians’
Two thirds working for a White British employer; 11% - for a SEE employer; 9% - another Bulgarian
24% (N=15) of economically active earning below £5, the National Minimum Wage Rate
No men working below £4 an hour, just 2 women
Low wages prevalent in Hackney and less so in Brighton
Bulgarian immigrants were more likely than the other groups in the study to work over 45 hours per week; more women than men.
Those with permanent status were more likely to work longer hours.
Only 8% of economically active Bulgarians were doing more than one job.
Bulgarians – the only immigrant group in the survey without a single trade union member
Real lack of identification amongst Bulgarians and the other immigrant groups surveyed with the neighbourhood they were living in (two thirds of Bulgarians felt they did not belong to it)
More than half of Bulgarians felt they belonged ‘strongly’ or ‘fairly strongly’ to Britain
Bulgarians in Brighton with weakest sense of belonging to Britain: N=18, 62% felt they did not belong to Britain, compared to 7 (24%) in Hackneyand 10 (35%) in Harrow
Weaker belonging in Britain because of stronger belonging in the home country?
95% (81) belonged, 59 (70%)–‘very strongly’; 4(5%) – felt they belonged not very strongly to Bulgaria
Those in Brighton – weaker sense of belonging to Bulgaria than those in London
Belonging to Borough stronger than belonging to the neighbourhood
Bulgarians in Brighton more pessimistic about belonging than those in London (only 2 in Brighton felt ‘fairly strongly’ to the City, 11 – in Hackney, 12 – in Harrow)
Whether the individuals believed that:
a) their neighbourhoods are places where people get on well together
Bulgarians had the most positive stance in the survey about this – 81% definitely agreeing or tended to agree with this proposition; this was much lower for the other groups in the survey; 83% in Hackney, 69% in Brighton
Most of Bulgarians (84%, N=48) with a Bulgarian partner; just 7% (N=4) with an English person
75% of Bulgarians (N=64) had friends from a different ethnic group, usually former socialist countries
In case of a problem – more than three quarter relied on their partners or Bulgarian housemates, relatives or friends; 3 said ‘nobody to help’
Almost all working Bulgarians believed people at work respected each other; only 3 said they did not
More than half were working with people from other ethnic groups; only 8 (11%) working with other Bulgarians
“I like my life in the UK, that’s why I have chosen to live here. I want a quiet life and to be able to travel with my family everywhere in the world-I want everything that a normal person wishes to achieve”. (Bulgarian, Hackney, M, 28)
Bulgarians with higher intentions for return than the other groups in the sample
Those in Brighton more likely to return
Few Bulgarians felt the return was imminent; more than half did not know when, only 2 with a fixed date
‘Earning enough money’ and ‘improvement in the economic situation in Bulgaria’– the most important factors for return
Just a quarter of Bulgarians felt they could do so
A quarter had undertaken action to solve a local problem (contacted the appropriate organisation, local radio, MP)
Only 3 (4%) Bulgarians had volunteered in the last 12 months compared to 30% Ukrainians, 31% Serbians, 27% Russians, 26% Albanians
More than half of Bulgarians (55%) involved in clubs, mainly sports clubs; none of the Bulgarians – members of a political party or religious organisation
Bulgarians and Russians – more likely to be members of an ethnic community group