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Research

New research deepens understanding of international migration

11 December 2019 @TeessideUni

 

Academics and council chiefs have been working together to better understand the impact of recent international migration on the local area, identify service pressures and ways to enhance community cohesion.

Researchers from Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law, completed an 18 month research project on behalf of Middlesbrough Council.

The aim was to provide a comprehensive understanding of recent international migration, changing demographics and the impact of changes on services and communities, as well as identifying gaps in current data sources.

Researchers found that international migration has a positive economic and cultural impact, as well as increasing levels of diversity. Middlesbrough’s population is maintained through international migration although there is clear concentration in locales of multiple deprivation with low-cost housing. This related to an increased impact on education and GP services but most other public services experienced little or no rise in demand.

The findings from the research were recently showcased at a Data and Education Conference in Middlesbrough which demonstrated learning and best practice from a range of projects.

As a result of the Teesside University research, a toolkit has been developed to be used by local authorities and partner agencies to support and understand the impact of international migration and share best practice.

Dr Carol Devanney, who was one of the researchers involved, has also been seconded to Middlesbrough Council for one year to help implement the recommendations from the research and deliver a second phase of the project, focusing on local data collection improvements, producing user friendly data for local authority staff and schools, and training staff in the collection and use of data.

This was a really important piece of work which has allowed us to better understand the impact of international migration and where there are gaps and improvements to be made.

Dr Carol Devanney

'This was a really important piece of work which has allowed us to better understand the impact of international migration and where there are gaps and improvements to be made in terms of data collection, services and provision.

'The common challenges identified include language barriers and knowledge of UK systems and processes. The research also found that understanding international migration at local level is complex and challenging for a range of factors, including data collection and availability of sources.

'The next phase of the project is to implement the recommendations from the research and build on the positive work that has already been done.'

Nicola Mearns, from Middlesbrough Council, added: 'The Council chose to commission Teesside University to undertake the data mapping research in order to achieve impartial, thorough and academically-rigorous work that would build on the existing wealth of experience in this field within the University.

'The recommendations for improved community data collection provided by the University will now be implemented by the Council; and the data compiled through the exceptional research will now be utilised by all Council service areas (and available to our public partners) to plan forward work programmes that are much more responsive to the needs of the changing community.'