Thousands of pounds of funding awarded to Fenland Council for migration project to help prepare for post-Brexit ‘challenges’

Funding received for project to access migration in Fenland

Funding received for project to access migration in Fenland - Credit: Archant

Around £120,000 of government funding will kick-start a project to better understand migration in Fenland to help “prepare for post-Brexit challenges”.

Council bosses say the migrant worker statistical data project will help to “fully understand the makeup and needs of Fenland’s migrant population” and assess the impact of migration on local communities while planning ahead for any new migration to the area.

The £119,500 grant comes from the controlling migration fund (CMF) and will underpin other CMF projects the council is already delivering to tackle migrant homelessness, street drinking in Wisbech, rogue landlords and poor condition privately-rented homes.

It is hoped that the two-year scheme will create an accurate record of migrant workers for the first time, with the data gathered enabling them to address existing issues and plan future service provision in the run up to and post-Brexit period.

Local farmers, employers and agencies will also be contacted to record numbers of seasonal workers, migrant nationalities, accommodation and transport provision, as well as recruitment practices looking at how and where migrants are being recruited from.

A council spokesperson said: “While there are many positives impacts from migration there nevertheless have been intense pressures placed upon community cohesion, public services, housing and integration in the area.

“By fully understanding migration in Fenland we can minimise increasing frustrations and potential community tensions, address migrant issues and prepare for any Brexit challenges we may face.”

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The pilot initiative will also develop a data gathering toolkit to be shared nationally by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), enabling other organisations to undertake similar research.

Most of the existing data on migrants relates to workers who are legitimately employed and registered with HM Revenue and Customs or living in registered houses of multiple occupation (HMO).

It doesn’t include undocumented migrants who live and work ‘under the radar’, undetectable by statutory bodies; making many of them vulnerable and at risk of exploitation.

Fenland Council received funding from the ministry of housing, communities and local government to lead the migrant research project in partnership with the police, fire service, ACCESS (Migrant Support), the NFU, homeless charity The Ferry Project, Clarion Housing and the Rosmini Centre in Wisbech along with county, district and town councils.

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