Isabelle Watts portrait

Written by Isabelle Watts

We are a Young Economic Summit Team from Sheffield Girls' who have reached the UK national finals. This is a topic we are all passionate about, and we have come up with a solution to reduce the discrimination migrants face.

As part of the Young Economic Summit we have researched the challenges migrants face and have developed a solution to mitigate these challenges. We are passionate about mitigating the discrimination migrants face and ensuring that they feel welcome into the countries which they choose to migrate to.

What challenges do migrants face?

Migrants face many challenges when they migrate due to discrimination from domestic born citizens. The media often fuels the discrimination by oversimplifying, misrepresenting or embellishing stories in order to attract attention. Consequently, people’s perception of migrants becomes negative and in many countries, such as the UK, migrants are seen as poorer, less educated and more likely to be unemployed than is the case. This creates barriers between migrants and domestic born citizens as they have pre made judgements of what they believe migrants to be

However, it isn’t just the media that is exacerbating the challenges migrants face; it is also the policies implemented by the government. In recent weeks, the government has announced a new policy whereby any adult who comes to the UK without authorisation could be considered for relocation to Rwanda. Not only does this policy take away refugees’ control of their own lives and makes them more vulnerable to smugglers and traffickers, it also creates the idea that countries can pay to get rid of the responsibilities they signed up to under the 1951 Geneva Convention.

The desired situation:

The desired situation is a cohesive society where migrants and domestic born citizens are integrated and migrants feel welcomed into a country. Whilst migrants may inevitably face challenges, the aim is to try and support them as well as possible and remove the discrimination and intolerance of our society.

How to reach the desired solution:

One way in which we are trying to reach the desired situation is by conducting PSHE lessons on migration. In the long run this would reduce the discrimination migrants face as children will be taught what the different types of migrants are, what challenges they face, how to spot misinformation, as well as addressing the biases they may have already developed. Moreover, a supportive atmosphere will be created which encourages children to talk about their cultures and be proud of them. It is imperative that these lessons take place in primary school as by the age of 12/13, attitudes to race are fixed and become increasingly harder to alter.  Although migration is in the PSHE curriculum, it isn’t compulsory and many schools avoid it. Therefore, we propose that set lesson plans are made which are compulsory to teach in PSHE lessons.

Another aspect of our solution is a widespread social media campaign reducing the misinformation spread about migrants. As part of this we have created eye catching social media posts that have facts that break down the stereotypes surrounding migrants. Consequently, people’s perception of migrants will begin to change and prejudices will be broken down.

Overall, we propose a twofold approach that takes into account the short and longer term. The national anti-racism media campaign will reduce discrimination in the short run, whilst the PSHE lessons will have a longer term effect. We believe that this is the most efficient strategy of reducing the discrimination migrants face due to misinformation, and allowing society to become more cohesive.

Please visit our website to find out more about our research, and fill in the form to show support for our solution.

Website:https://sites.google.com/she.gdst.net/migrant-integration-challenges/home 

Form:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1p363lLoHvigT2xWaZ0GnmNlQ-EOUrSsasSRbOsjKiG0/edit

Bibliography:

  1. Conzo P and others, ‘Negative Media Portrayals Of Immigrants Increase Ingroup Favouritism And Hostile Physiological And Emotional Reactions’ (2021) 11 Scientific Reports
  2. ‘What Are The Predominant Stereotypes About Immigrants Today?’ (Re-imagining Migration) <https://reimaginingmigration.org/what-are-the-predominant-stereotypes-about-immigrants-today/> accessed 15 May 2022
  3. Beirens H, and Davidoff-Gore S, ‘The UK-Rwanda Agreement Represents Another Blow To Territorial Asylum’ (Migration Policy Institute, 2022) <https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/uk-rwanda-asylum-agreemen> accessed 15 May 2022
  4. Beirens H, and Davidoff-Gore S, ‘The UK-Rwanda Agreement Represents Another Blow To Territorial Asylum’ (Migration Policy Institute, 2022) <https://www.migrationpolicy.org/news/uk-rwanda-asylum-agreemen> accessed 15 May 2022
  5. Barnes D, ‘Why Helping Children Understand The Complexities Of Migration Is Vital’ (Teachwire, 2022) <https://www.teachwire.net/news/why-helping-children-understand-the-complexities-of-migration-is-vital> accessed 15 May 2022
  6. ‘Plan Your Relationships, Sex And Health Curriculum’ (GOV.UK, 2022) <https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plan-your-relationships-sex-and-health-curriculum#using-external-agencies> accessed 16 May 2022

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