Strategies for promoting integration at the city region level
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed unprecedented challenges for the integration of migrant communities. As the crisis subsides, England’s city region mayors – who represent more than half of the UK’s migrant population – can play a vital role in helping their communities to reconnect. This briefing sets out how city region mayors can use their powers to forge their own approach on integration policy. While much responsibility for migration and integration policy still lies with central government, there are nonetheless a range of levers which mayors have at their disposal to secure change.
We argue that mayors can take action on improving English language provision, tackling economic exclusion, and offering accessible services for those with insecure immigration status. First, we propose that mayors can use new powers over the adult education budget to tailor ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision for their city regions. Second, we argue that mayors can include efforts to foster and develop the talents and skills of migrants as an important part of their regional economic planning. Third, we suggest ways for mayors to encourage local services - such as the police, GPs, homelessness outreach, and social services - to be accessible to all people regardless of their immigration status.
As we highlight in this briefing, many mayors are already exploring innovative approaches using their new powers and platforms to promote integration in their city regions. As the UK begins its social and economic recovery, mayors now have the opportunity to build on their work to bring down barriers to integration and strengthen community relations.