Time for an informed debate on migration to Wales

Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) will be one of the key speakers at the first National Conference on Migration to Wales.

Professor Crawley will be talking about the historical context of migration to Wales and recent demographic changes, focusing on the dispersal of asylum seekers to Cardiff, Swansea. Wrexham and Newport and the arrival of economic migrants from Eastern Europe, primarily Poland, following European enlargement in 2004.

The conference, organised by the Wales Migration Partnership, takes place on 11th December at the Novotel Hotel in Cardiff from 9.30-4.30pm. It is the first of its kind and brings together more than 160 participants including local authority staff, policy makers, academics and practitioners working across a range of services to ensure a well-informed debate on migration to Wales and the development of evidence-based policy and practice.

Migration to Wales is nothing new but the past decade has seen significant changes in both the scale of migration and the diversity of countries from which migrants come.

These changes have been associated primarily with the dispersal of asylum seekers to Cardiff, Wrexham, Swansea and Newport and the arrival of economic migrants from the countries of Eastern Europe (and particularly Poland) following European enlargement in 2004. Around 90% of population increase in Wales since 2001 is thought to be a result of migration from other parts of the UK as well as international migration.

On the same day (11th December) the Office for National Statistics will be releasing key data from the 2011 UK census of population.

The conference will also see the launch of a new Wales Migration Portal commissioned by the Wales Migration Partnership and developed by the Local Government Data Unit. The Portal brings together publicly available data for the first time in one place via an online data tool which is simple and intuitive to use. It provides users with a range of migration data and contextual information, bilingually, in table and map form. The profile will be updated regularly and from mid-January 2013 it will also include the most recent census data.

Commenting on the conference and the importance of the Migration Portal, Professor Heaven Crawley, Director of Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) said:

“This is a much needed and very timely event which brings together, for the first time, the key players involved in all aspects of Welsh society affected by recent changes in migration and diversity. The debate on migration in Wales has often been playing ‘catch up’ due to a lack of basic information and data on which to base policy making and decisions about the allocation of resources. Thanks to the Migration Portal this will no longer be the case”.

Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Leader of the House, Welsh Government will speak in the opening session of the conference. Other speakers include The Rev Aled Edwards, Chair of the Wales Migration Partnership, Norbert Mbu-Mputu, Newport Community Space and Councillor Daniel De’Ath,from Cardiff Council.

  • In the 1880s Somali seamen were drawn to Cardiff to work in the docks and the city is now host to the largest British-born Somali population in the UK. The second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries saw huge increases in the population of South Wales associated with employment opportunities in the coal industry. Many of these migrants came from other parts of Europe including Italy and Spain. There was also significant outward migrant in between the wars and in the immediate post-war period due to economic decline and opportunities available elsewhere.
  •  The Wales Migration Partnership (WMP) is funded by Welsh Government (Inclusion Grant) and the UK Border Agency (Enabling Grant) and is based at the Welsh Local Government Association. WMP is a partnership organisation aimed at providing an 'enabling function' and a strategic leadership, independent, advisory and consultative body on migration in Wales.' This allows sharing of expertise, diverse range of views and vital information minimising adverse impacts and maximising the benefits of migration. For further information and contact numbers visit http://www.wsmp.org.uk

  • The conference is enabled by financial support from Welsh Government, UK Border Agency, Clearel, Newport City Council.
  • The Migration Portal is funded by four Welsh Police Forces, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), Newport City Council, Swansea City Council, Public Health Wales, Cardiff Council, Swansea University’s Centre for Migration Policy Research, Cytun and Clearel/Ready Homes.
  • The Portal will include information on population, nationality, country of birth, Census immigration statistics, mid-year estimates (components of change for immigration, emigration and international migration), short term migrant statistics, GP registrations, National Insurance numbers, Higher Education Statistics Agency foreign student statistics, Pupil census statistics and fertility rates.
  • The Migration Portal is a secure password-protected site. Users will be able to access it by registering their details at http://wmp.infobasecymru.net  or sending an email to iwan.thomas@dataunitwales.gov.uk .