Study reveals South African migrants feel race and culture give them an edge

A recent study published by the Runnymede Trust on the South African community has indicated that race and culture can provide an edge over other migrant groups when settling in the United Kingdom. The study is part of a series of community studies conducted recently by the trust to provide an insight into ethnic diversity.

It’s estimated that there are over half a million South Africans in the United Kingdom. Nearly 90% of this group are white, contrary to the native population where the majority of South Africans are black. Employment rates for South Africans in London are amongst the highest then other migrant groups, with a significant concentration in high paid sectors of employment. Indeed the vast majority of South Africans have been notably successful in the world of business and employment, particularly the banking and finance and media sectors.

In a qualitative study conducted by the Runnymede Trust twenty individuals across the South African community were interviewed. The study found that amongst them there was a general consensus that the immigration process was easier due to the fact they were white and English speaking.  The report also showed an acceptance amongst the respondents that their ethnicity was a great advantage in Britain in everything from employment prospects to being accepted in their local community:  One respondent in the report is quoted as saying:-

“You know, there’s a whole hierarchy of how foreign you are, and I don’t think white, English speaking South Africans are seen as that foreign, because of the, I suppose, of the colour and the connection” (Lana). – Source - South Africans in Multi-Ethnic Britain, Runnymede Trust

The study concludes that race is a factor that plays a partial part in the many advantages experienced by South African migrants over other groups when settling here, particularly those who have origins from developing countries.

With the formation of the Commission of Equality and Human Rights in place of the Commission for Race Equality, many race equality campaigners were concerned about the possible dilution of the race issue. Many would even argue that race is no longer as high on the agenda as it used to be. The study is a chilling reminder that racism is still very much alive, perhaps just more concealed.

To read the study in full detail please click the link below

South Africans in Multi Ethnic Britain

Posted by

Dizali Mentha
Assistant Publisher



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