Latin Americans that moved to the UK from EU countries with high unemployment rates are living in increasingly precarious circumstances – usually under financial hardship and even in debt.
These are the findings from a new report by Leeds University which illustrates the negative impact that cuts and immigration policy reforms have had on Latin American migrants that remigrated to the UK from EU countries.
According to the last census (2011), a third of Latin Americans living in the UK have lived before in another country of the European Union, the majority of them in Spain, Portugal and Italy, and have then remigrated to the UK after gaining EU citizenship.
Despite having EU passport, these newly arrived Latin Americans face a situation of “practical exclusion” from the public services, due to the lack of understanding of how the system works, the language barrier and the reduced number of outreach, interpreting and translating services in the public services after the recent cuts.
Furthermore, the reduction of public funding to the third sector has limited the capability of Latin American organisations to attend and cover the increase in the demand from new migrants.
The report also suggests that the lack of services tailored to the Latin American diaspora – who too often don’t understand the system and aren’t fully competent in the English language – leads to situations where:
- New migrants don’t receive the necessary information to access the healthcare system, resulting in a 19% of Latin Americans that have never registered with a GP (No Longer Invisible, 2011).
- Debt and precarious working conditions are common due to lack of knowledge of workers’ rights and the tax system.
- Families have difficulties enrolling children in schools – with a worrying number of Latin American children placed on waiting lists-.
- Struggles to secure appropriate housing are widespread in a community with a high number of people living in overcrowded housing and unsanitary conditions.
The report, published by Leeds University in collaboration with the Latin American Women’s Right Service (LAWRS), also focuses on the impact that new migration policies have had on migrants’ access to public services, mostly by limiting the entitlement of the new arrivals to work benefits and access the healthcare system.
This shortage of resources has lead to vulnerable situations and a reliance on exploitative systems, worsening the financial hardship and the psychological impact that migration has in this particular group of the Latin American community, undermining their chances to secure a stable economic situation and better opportunities for future generations.
Finally, the report highlights how Latin American women suffer these difficulties especially, as they are often the main carers for children and family.
This guest blog post was written by Beatriz Martinez, Deputy Editor and Community Manager for Latin Americans at Migreat.
Read more on life and experiences of Latin American migrants living in the UK by joining the Migreat Latin American community!