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Reaching our potential: A message from the CEO

Categories: CEO's Blog

Migration has made Britain a more prosperous and innovative place – that’s according to a report published last week by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an influential committee of academics and experts tasked with advising the government on immigration policy.

Their report, the most thorough examination of the impact of immigration on the British economy and society, found that EU workers contribute more in taxes than they use in public services like the NHS, and pay £2,300 more in tax than the average UK adult. The huge benefits of our open society are clearly visible in our flourishing and diverse array of businesses, our arts, music and culture. Diversity offers so much potential. To make the most of it, we must lay down the right foundations to support migrants to fully participate in society. That’s why MRC is helping migrants find rewarding work and set up businesses.

An uneven playing field

Good employment is essential for everyone. It means we can provide for ourselves and our families, and plan for the future. It means a chance to learn new things, develop professional and social networks, and achieve personal ambitions. But migrants are not on an even playing field with others who have been in the UK a long time. The most obvious barrier is language. Having a good command of English is essential but, as my July blog laid out, learning is not easy.

Carolina moved to London from Brazil in 2016 after her husband got a job in the City. With a small circle of friends she did not have the opportunity to practise English and took a job as a cleaner, but her passion was art and she knew she wanted to do something else. Carolina approached our careers service because she didn’t know where to start and found the process daunting. “Before coming to MRC, I was ashamed to talk about my experiences because I thought they were not interesting, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but now I have an idea of a career.”

She realised that to succeed in this career she needed to improve her English and save for university. The adviser enrolled her on MRC’s English classes and helped her find a job where she could practice and save. “After receiving help with my CV, I started applying for jobs and I found one within a week. I now work as a nanny and I am really satisfied. When my English is good enough I plan to start a degree in graphic design”.

Reaching potential

Often people’s qualifications, which they worked long and hard for, are not recognised in the UK. Migrants are often unfamiliar with the local job market, and lack professional networks and referees that others can take advantage of when looking for a new job. Such barriers to employment mean migrants are often compelled to work in jobs for which they are over-qualified. This means not reaching their potential, and the benefits of their skills are not shared with the wider community.

To overcome these barriers, MRC’s careers advice service helps people understand their strengths and weaknesses and looks at the full range of support that helps people succeed. We provide everything from English training and CV writing, to interview skills and public speaking to prepare people for interviews and build confidence. “I feel so good inside, knowing that I can give presentations and speeches to an audience. Meeting MRC’s adviser improved my confidence, giving me a better idea of what I can do to achieve my objectives in my professional life.”

Carolina is one of over 450 people who used our free careers service last year. We aim to keep them free because, as her story shows, when people are in meaningful employment the benefits are felt by everyone.

I am delighted to announce our first #GivingTuesday campaign in November. I will include more details about this next month.

Wayne Myslik, CEO
Migrants Resource Centre

 

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