#41 Orange on Migration in London

Circular migrants: connect back

Researchers and participants to NGO’s work on the subject of migration and integration agreed with the fact that being part of a diverse community is considered as something positive by people in London, because it gives the city an interesting profile picture. “Diversity in culture such as different food, tastes and merchandises, are positive aspects that make Londoners to be proud.” declared Dr. Nick Mai, reader in Migration Studies at the London Metropolitan University. According to Vaughan Jones Chief Executive of Praxis, “people in London enjoy living in London because of diversity”.

A local perspective its not only about the fact Londoners are used to talk about migration and diversity because it’s became a current and appreciated thing, but also benefits and advantages of migration are treated by the media through the optic of host countries, so reflections about immigration and integration are leaving aside the consequences from the migrations in the countries of origin. The benefits of migrations are related with the demographic renewal regarding inverting demographic pyramid, enriching local culture and covering working force needs.

An obstacle to development

But all these aspects are also impacting in the countries that are left because of migration and Diasporas. Indeed, for some countries human capital flight, known as “brain drain” could be an obstacle, as a retarding effect for development. A joint publication by the UK Border Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office entitled “International Challenges, International solutions; Managing the movement of people and goods,” was launched in March 2010 as an international action plan to strengthen the UK’s partnerships with agencies of other countries to further improve its migration policies. James Sharp, the UK Border Agency’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific explained that both countries could benefit from its skilled workers through ‘circular migration’ which will basically allow workers applying for citizenship to return to their source country and contribute with their skills, providing knowledge acquired in UK in their origin countries.

Back to the origins

In London CBC Africa Recruit, product of the Commonwealth Business Council, people try to implicate African people in their origin countries’ destiny. They are part of the European Commission-United Nations Joint Migration and Development Initiative (JMDI), which reflects the acceptance of, and growing interest in the strong links between migration and development. The JMDI looks to reinforce networks of actors working on migration and development through an internet platform, identifying good practice in this field and sharing information to obtain feeding in policy-making on migration. Migrants are also implicating themselves in their source countries’ issues, and thus connect with their origins. The media and the access to international media production through Internet, radio and television is a way for migrants to stay in contact with their culture. Migrants are creating rich information and content that can be broadcasted in their origin and host countries.

“It’s easy to leave, but not to come back”

The story of Mimi Chakarova, a Bulgarian photojournalist based in California, is a great example of how the reconnection with one’s origins is important both for the identity and for the country. She talked to Orange magazine and presented her documentary called “The Price of Sex”. This film talks about Eastern European women who’ve been drawn into a netherworld of sex trafficking and abuse. For Mimi, coming back to one’s country and working for changes it’s about understanding who you are and where you come from. “It’s easy to leave, but not to came back”, she says. Mimi explains how she started with this 7 years film project. “When I started working as a photo journalist, I was reporting about different countries, and once, showing different images about African issues, in 2001, somebody asked me what allowed me to cover realities that are not mine…” Few times later, Mimi was starting her film. “People who are in this film have a personal voice, and I’m only giving them an outlet to be known”.

By: Barbara Blay

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