Journal of Identity and Migration Studies - Research Centre on ...

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Journal of Identity and Migration Studies - Research Centre on ...

RCIMIong>Researchong> ong>Centreong> on ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> IssuesUniversity ong>ofong> Oradeaong>Journalong> ong>ofong>ong>Identityong> ong>andong>ong>Migrationong>ong>Studiesong>University ong>ofong> Oradea Publishing HouseVolume 2, number 2, 2008


JOURNAL OF IDENTITY AND MIGRATION STUDIESThe ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong> (JIMS) is an online review published semi-annually underthe auspices ong>ofong> the ong>Researchong> ong>Centreong> on ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> Issues – RCIMI, from the Faculty ong>ofong>Political Science ong>andong> Communication Sciences, University ong>ofong> Oradea, Romania.DirectorLia Pop, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaEditor-In-ChiefCristina Matiuta, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaDeputy Editor-In-ChiefMarius Tatar, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaEditorial BoardGabriel Badescu, Babes-Bolyai University, RomaniaBernardo Cardinale, University ong>ofong> Teramo, ItalyAlexong>andong>ru Ilies, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaZaiga Krisjane, University ong>ofong> Latvia, LatviaMihaela Stefanescu, Soros Foundation, RomaniaJan Wendt, University ong>ofong> Gdansk, Polong>andong>Luca Zarrilli, University ong>ofong> Chieti-Pescara, ItalyAssistant EditorsIoana Albu, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaDan Apateanu, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaIoan Laza, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaIrina Pop, University ong>ofong> Oradea, RomaniaThe responsibility for the content ong>ofong> the contributions published in JIMS belongs exclusively to theauthors. The views expressed in the articles ong>andong> other contributions are those ong>ofong> the authors ong>andong> donot necessarily reflect the views ong>ofong> the editors ong>ofong> JIMS.JIMS - JOURNAL OF IDENTITY AND MIGRATION STUDIESong>Researchong> ong>Centreong> on ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> Issues - RCIMIFaculty ong>ofong> Political Science ong>andong> Communication ScienceUniversity ong>ofong> OradeaAddress:Str. Traian Blajovici nr. 2Oradea, 410238RomaniaTel./Fax: +40 259 455 525E-mail: jims@e-migration.ro; contact@e-migration.roWebsite: www.jims.e-migration.roCopyright © JIMS, 2008. No parts ong>ofong> this publication can be reproduced without the writtenpermission ong>ofong> the editors.ISSN 1843 – 5610


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008TABLE OF CONTENTSTHEMATIC ARTICLES – MIGRANTS’ INTEGRATION IN HOST SOCIETIES ..................... 2Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ Integration: Explaining Historical, Economic ong>andong> PoliticalFactors, Andrada COSTOIU .................................................................................. 2Through the Fear: A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee System, JanetMcKNIGHT ........................................................................................................ 18Missed Opportunity: The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the BritishEconomy, Dieu Donné HACK-POLAY .................................................................. 43Deconstructing the Environment: The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to CanadaLearning English, Andreea CERVATIUC............................................................... 67Representation ong>ofong> Refugees, Asylum-Seekers ong>andong> Refugee Affairs In HungarianDailies, Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUS ......................................... 87POLICY REPORTS ................................................................................................. 108Labour Mobility in Nowadays Europe ong>andong> Its Role in Economic Development,Ioana ALBU ..................................................................................................... 108NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS ................................................................................. 112


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008THEMATIC ARTICLES – MIGRANTS’ INTEGRATION INHOST SOCIETIESModes ong>ofong> Minorities’ Integration: Explaining Historical,Economic ong>andong> Political FactorsAndrada COSTOIUAbstract. There are a great number ong>ofong> states in which different ethnic minorities coexist,each ong>ofong> them having their own culture, language ong>andong> history. In some ong>ofong> these states, theethnic minorities have been subjected to marginalization ong>andong> acculturation, in other statesthe minority groups were recognized as being distinct parts ong>ofong> the nation ong>andong> were grantedequal rights ong>ofong> participation in the public arena. This paper attempts to explain why statesopt for such different ways ong>ofong> integrating their minorities. It first develops a typology ong>ofong>minorities’ integration ong>andong> than, by using the example ong>ofong> two nation-states that fit intoeach type ong>ofong> integration model it discusses the historical, political ong>andong> economical factorsthat could explain each pattern ong>ofong> minorities’ integration.Key words: integration, ethnic minorities, multiculturalism, assimilationIntroductionThere is a large variation in terms ong>ofong> how states are dealing with theirethnic minorities. There are states like United States ong>andong> Canada which recognizethe uniqueness ong>andong> distinctiveness ong>ofong> their minorities. Canada for example hasbecome a nation that is ong>ofong>ficially committed, through a wide range ong>ofong>governmental policies, to the preservation ong>andong> enhancement ong>ofong> ethnic diversity.Canadians see themselves as a mosaic 1 . They call for the incorporation ong>ofong> all ethnicgroups in the Canadian society via civic assimilation, without trying to override orto lower the importance ong>ofong> the ethnic identities. United States also respects the1 Kivisto, Peter. 2002. Multiculturalism in a global society. United Kingdom: BlackwellPublishers.2


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008ethnic cultural diversity ong>andong> embraces multiculturalism, nevertheless thepromotion ong>andong> the protection ong>ofong> distinctive ethnic identities it is not a goal ong>ofong> thestate’s policies.There are also states like France ong>andong> Germany which are still reluctant ong>andong>not very open in supporting their ethnic diversity. Germany for example, is notopen but is rather adverse to the idea ong>ofong> multiculturalism. German ethnicminorities continue to suffer political, economical ong>andong> social discrimination. InGermany a foreigner will always remain a foreigner if it does not have Germanblood. France also has an adverse attitude towards multiculturalism, but it is notsimilar with the German case. France, which has built its nation on the republicanversion ong>ofong> civic citizenship, is trying to override ong>andong> replace its minorities’ differentethnic identities with the identity ong>ofong> French citizen. For France the foreigner willnot always be a foreigner as in the case ong>ofong> Germany, rather he could become aFrench citizen with the condition ong>ofong> replacing its ethnic identity with the Frenchidentity.So why do states have such different ong>andong> sometimes divergent attitudestowards their ethnic minorities? Why some states are open ong>andong> willing to integratetheir ethnic minorities without impeding on their identity ong>andong> uniqueness whileothers are not willing to integrate or they would integrate their ethnic minoritiesonly if they would give up their identity?The concept ong>ofong> integrationIntegration is a “difficult to define” concept. Thus, prior developing on thedifferent ways in which states “integrate” their ethnic groups ong>andong> on the reasons ong>ofong>their different approaches, there are few important clarifications that we have tomake in regards with our understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> the “integration” concept.First, as the literature suggests, “integrationong>ofong> minorities could beunderstood in many ways. Over the past decades scholars equated the“integrationong>ofong> ethnic minorities with the removal ong>ofong> the differences between theminorities ong>andong> the bigger society. These scholars understood through “integration”the process ong>ofong> re-homogenization ong>ofong> the society in which the minorities wereexpected to adopt all the values ong>ofong> the host society, without any reciprocal3


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008accommodation from the host state 2 . Nevertheless the political, economical ong>andong>social realities have leaded us to change our understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> the integration ong>ofong>minorities. Nowadays, through integration we understong>andong> the process ong>ofong>incorporation with equal rights ong>ofong> all ethnic groups. These ethnic groups should begranted equal rights in all spheres ong>ofong> the society, without being expected to give uptheir diversity. This is how integration will also be understood in this paper.Second, integration is multidimensional. Integration ong>ofong> ethnic minoritiesinto a society takes place at every level ong>andong> in every sector ong>ofong> society. Hence, hencewe will have to take into account not only parts ong>ofong> the integration process, such isthe political or the economical integration ong>ofong> the ethnic minorities, but we have toassess the integration ong>ofong> minorities on political, cultural, social ong>andong> economicaldimensions. The political integration should focus on assessing minorities’ access tocitizenship rights ong>andong> also on assessing their political participation in the countrywhere they reside. The cultural integration should concentrate on the way theethnic minorities are allowed to preserve ong>andong> manifest their cultural values both inthe public ong>andong> in the private spheres. The social ong>andong> economic dimensions ong>ofong>integration should asses the social ong>andong> economic equality between the minoritiesong>andong> the bigger society.2 This view is mostly related with the integration ong>ofong> immigrants through their assimilationinto the bigger society. The assimilation models have their roots in the Chicago School ong>ofong>Sociology, ong>andong> they are mostly related with the name ong>ofong> one ong>ofong> its members, Robert Park. Heargued that through a process ong>ofong> interaction between the immigrants ong>andong> their new society,the immigrants will “move from contact to competition, from conflict to accommodation ong>andong>finally to assimilation”( Barbara Heisler, “ The future ong>ofong> immigrant incorporation: Whichmodels, which concepts”, International ong>Migrationong> Review, 1996, Vol. 26(2): 626) LaterGordon (1964) developed a multidimensional assimilation model. He identified seven stagesin which the immigrant is moving from the cultural integration to a structural integrationwithin the host society(Gordon, Milton. 1964 “Assimilation in American Life: The role ong>ofong>race, religion ong>andong> national Origins”. New York.). Finally, the more recent literature issuggesting that the assimilation ong>ofong> newcomers is a segmented assimilation, in the sense thatthe immigrants get assimilated ong>andong> display the characteristics ong>ofong> different sub-cultures.Portes (1995), for example, builds his model on the United States case. He says that the pathong>ofong> the assimilation ong>ofong> the immigrants is determined by their color ong>andong> their country ong>ofong> origin.As a result, the white immigrants from relatively high income countries will assimilate intothe white middle class, while the dark skinned immigrants coming from poorer countries willassimilate into the inner city underclass. Also, the immigrants coming from countries thathave strong ethnic communities in United States will try to maintain their ethnicdistinctiveness ong>andong> they will integrate into their ethnic immigrant community(Portes,Alejong>andong>ro. 1995. “Children ong>ofong> immigrants: Segmented assimilation ong>andong> its determinants”,The Economic Sociology ong>ofong> Immigration.)4


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Three models ong>ofong> minorities’ integration ong>andong> the historical, political ong>andong>economical factors that stong>andong> behind themThere is a great variation in the ways states chose to “integrate” theirminorities. Yet, we can create a typology ong>ofong> states’ minorities’ integration in broadterms ong>andong> characteristics. Though, it is important to understong>andong> that no country fitsexactly in any ong>ofong> these types presented here. A country can have a differentattitude towards different ethnic groups ong>andong> can also evolve from a way to dealwith its ethnic minorities to another, starting for example with a policy ong>ofong>assimilation to gradually move towards a policy ong>ofong> pluralism.Models ong>ofong>integrationTable1. Three modes ong>ofong> integrationPluralist/Multicultural Assimilationsist Exclusionary/ FormalinclusionLegal/politicaldimensionSocio-economicdimensionCulturalreligiousdimension-the minorities haveaccess ong>andong> can acquirenational citizenship- there is a support forminorities politicalorganizations- the ethnic minoritiesparticipate in the politicallife ong>ofong> the country- encourage the publicinstitutions to reflectpluralism in theirprograms ong>andong> policies- equal access for ethnicminorities to heath care,education ong>andong> housing- equal opportunities forthe ethnic minorities inthe labor market- there is ong>ofong>ficial supportfor the ethnic minoritiesto express their culturalong>andong> religious particularity- multicultural curriculumin schools; the stateallows special educationprograms for ethnicminorities in languagesother than the statelanguage-the minorities haveaccess ong>andong> can acquirenational citizenship-ignore the minoritypolitical organizations- discourage thepolitical mobilization onbehalf ong>ofong> the ethnicgroups- school desegregationpolicy- equal access to socialservices- oppose the publicmanifestation ong>ofong>religious beliefs ong>andong>practices- discourage ong>andong>oppose theestablishment ong>ofong>religious monuments(such a mosques, e.g.)- ethnic minorities’ accessto citizenship is veryrestrictive or they do nothave access to citizenship- ethnic group members aredeprived ong>ofong> political rights- ignore the minoritypolitical mobilization- accommodation ong>andong> livingconditions that increase thesegregation ong>ofong> the ethnicgroups- unequal access toemployment, educationong>andong> health care for theethnic/racial minorities-no measures orefforts to deal with theethnic minorities specialneeds in schools or in anyother spheres ong>ofong> the social-school segregation policies5


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The pluralist/multicultural model is based on the premise that all ethnicgroups should be granted equal rights in all spheres ong>ofong> the society, without beingexpected to give up their diversity. The basic ways in which the nation-states areintegrating their ethnic minorities without impinging on their particularity arepresented in the above table. The state gets actively involved in supporting ong>andong>promoting the ethnic diversity through policies that range from ones that areaccommodating the ethnic groups’ specific religious ong>andong> cultural needs to policiesthat are empowering different political ethnic organizations. Also, the ethnicminorities are active actors in the political, social ong>andong> economical life ong>ofong> the nationstate.As an example, two states can be defined as having multicultural/ pluralistmodes ong>ofong> integrating their ethnic groups: Canada ong>andong> Australia. United Statesalso respects ethnic cultural diversity ong>andong> embraces multiculturalism;nevertheless United States embraced the “laissez-faire” approach ong>ofong>multiculturalism (Castles, 2000, 139) 3 . In other words, United States incorporatesthe ethnic minorities as citizens ong>andong> also tolerates the cultural differences, butthe state does not assume an active role to support ong>andong> promote themaintenance ong>ofong> ethnic cultures.None ong>ofong> these states were born with a multicultural policy. Until the1960s they all had racist policies that discriminated against the non-Europeans. Inthe Australian case, the state maintained an explicitly racist assimilationist policywhich was making a clear distinction between the whites ong>andong> the non-whites. AsKivisto argues “Australia defined itself legally ong>andong> culturally as “White Australia” 4ong>andong> preference was given to the social ong>andong> cultural absorption ong>ofong> the Europeanoriginimmigrants while discriminating against all the other newcomers (ong>andong>Aboriginals). Similarly, Canada developed a state policy that was bifurcated alongtwo ethnic lines: the Anglophones ong>andong> the Francophone. Canada continued toignore all the other ethnic groups until 1971, when multiculturalism was ong>ofong>ficiallyembraced as a policy in Canada 5 .Nevertheless, three central factors led those two countries to embracemulticulturalism.3 Stephen Castles ong>andong> Alastair Davidson.2000. Citizenship ong>andong> ong>Migrationong>: Globalizationong>andong> the Politics ong>ofong> Belonging. London: Macmillan.4 See note 1.5 In 1971 the Multicultural Policy Act was adopted by the government ong>ofong> Pierre ElliotTrudeau through which Canada was committing herself to respect ong>andong> support diversity6


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008One important factor is determined by the needs ong>ofong> their capitalisteconomies, which in order to grow necessitated an expansion ong>ofong> theirpopulations. This led to a very diverse ethnical population that proved to beimpossible to manage through assimilation policies. At the beginning, Canada’spopulation was divided between the indigenous people ong>andong> the two chartergroups: the British ong>andong> the French. Nevertheless, as the nation began toindustrialize the need for labor force became acute ong>andong> the country started toreceive large numbers ong>ofong> immigrants. Besides the British ong>andong> the United Statescitizens, large number ong>ofong> Germans, Scong>andong>inavians, Poles, Greeks, Portuguese ong>andong>other European immigrants arrived in Canada 6 . Also, beginning 1962 whenCanadian immigration policy “put an end to the “white Canada” policies ong>ofong> thepast” 7 , large number ong>ofong> immigrants originated from Asia, Caribbean ong>andong> CentralAmerica flooded the country. Through the newcomers, the Canadian ethnicdiversity was greatly enriched ong>andong> Canada became one ong>ofong> the most culturallydiverse countries in the world. Similar with Canada, the population became moreethnically diverse in Australia. At the beginning the majority ong>ofong> Australianpopulation was constituted by the indigenous people together with the Britishong>andong> Irish settlers. Before the Second World War, the Australian immigrationpolicy displayed a preference for the British immigrants, nevertheless thedeclining birth rate ong>andong> the growing need for labor force in the manufacturingsector opened the gates for large immigrants from Eastern Europe ong>andong> Asia. Thisrepresented the end ong>ofong> the White Australia, which now became the home ong>ofong>various immigrant communities. Assimilation policies through which these twocountries tried to incorporate their immigrants proved to be ineffective, as thenew immigrant groups turned into ethnic communities that maintained theirmother tongues ong>andong> took steps to protect their ethnic heritages. Instead ong>ofong> facinga homogenous population, both Canada ong>andong> Australia were challenged now tocontrol ong>andong> manage a great collection ong>ofong> ethnic communities. Multiculturalism, inthe sense ong>ofong> “civic multiculturalism”, came as a solution to bring social cohesionto such an ethnically diverse population. While trying to unite all ethnic groupswithin their borders via civic assimilation, both Canada ong>andong> Australia made roomfor cultural diversity. Hence, in order to become a Canadian or an Australian6 Robert Harney. “So great a Heritage as Ours: Immigration ong>andong> the survival ong>ofong> CanadianPolity” in In Search ong>ofong> Canada, by Stehpen Graubard(ed.), New Jersey: TransactionPublishers.7 Idem 17


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008citizen it was no longer necessary to be culturally assimilated. Tough, it wasnecessary to be civically assimilated, which meant that as a citizen each ethnicgroup member had obligations ong>andong> commitments to their nation-state. Starting1970s, both Canada ong>andong> Australian governments embarked to a multiculturalpolicy that promoted equal civic, political ong>andong> cultural rights to all their citizens.Both states got actively involved to combat social disadvantage, to ong>ofong>fer equalaccess to heath care, education ong>andong> housing for all ethnic groups ong>andong> to ong>ofong>ferthem equal opportunities for participation ong>andong> decision making in the politicallife.The politicization ong>ofong> ethnicity stong>andong>s as a second important factor ong>ofong> theemergence ong>ofong> multiculturalism. Though, the Australian ong>andong> the Canadian casesare different. In Australia, as Castles points out, one reason for the introductionong>ofong> the social policies aimed specifically at the ethnic immigrant groups, “was therealization by political parties that immigrants were making up an increasingproportion ong>ofong> the electorate” (Castles 8 , 2000, 151). These policies were firstintroduced by the Australian Labor Party government ong>andong> than were continuedby the following Australian governments. They developed a wealth ong>ofong>government policies concerned with welfare, education or services thatrecognized ong>andong> supported the special needs ong>ofong> ethnic groups. In Canada, themulticultural policies are a reflection ong>ofong> a politically mobilized ethnicity. Hereethnicity was not politicized by political parties for electoral reasons, but it waspoliticized by an increasingly powerful Francophone community which sought toassert their political rights. The Canadian Francophone politicization ong>ofong> ethnicityled to an increasingly powerful nationalist movement in Quebec that pushed forthe separation ong>ofong> this province from Canada. In an effort to diffuse the Quebecoisseparatism ong>andong> to keep Canada together the Canadian government had to findways to accommodate the demong>andong>s aggrieved by the ethnic nationalists. At firstmulticulturalism started in Canada as “biculturalism”, translated in a set ong>ofong>policies that recognized ong>andong> protected the distinctiveness ong>ofong> the Francophonecultural identity. Later, the Canadian government expong>andong>ed its biculturalorientation into a multicultural orientation which granted equal rights in allspheres ong>ofong> the society for all ethnic minorities, while recognizing their culturalparticularity.8 Idem 38


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The transition ong>ofong> Canada ong>andong> Australia towards a multicultural policy wasalso facilitated by another factor, ong>andong> that is the flexibility ong>ofong> their nationalidentity.Thus it was possible for the Australian ong>andong> the Canadian states to shiftthe locus ong>ofong> defining their national identities from the racial ong>andong> ethnic linestowards a national identity based on civic assimilation. Of course, one could askhow is it possible to shift from ethnicity ong>andong> race as the factors ong>ofong> defining thenational identity towards a national identity based on civic assimilation. Theanswer is not simple. One ong>ofong> the reasons for which this shift was possible was theemergence ong>ofong> the welfare state. As Kivisto also points out, “the introduction ong>ofong>social policies contributed to the creation ong>ofong> a national Canadian identity basedon common membership ong>andong> social citizenship” (Kivisto 9 , 2002, 90).Nevertheless, this answer does not suffice. Both these nations developed asnations ong>ofong> immigrants ong>andong> from the beginning their process ong>ofong> nation-buildingwas exposed to ethnic diversity. 10 Their national identity did not have time tocement around a single ethnic or racial identity ong>andong> hence their national identitywas not rigid ong>andong> was not inherently tied to a particular ethnic or racial identity.This permitted to the states to develop a more inclusive sense ong>ofong> sense ong>ofong>peoplehood(one that was not limited to ethnicity ong>andong> race) ong>andong> to expong>andong> thebelongingness to the nation by increasing the salience ong>ofong> other national identitymakers, such as the civic belongingness.At the other pole from the pluralist/multicultural model is theexclusionary/formal inclusion model ong>ofong> integrating the ethnic minorities within anation-state. This model has been developed by the states which have a nationalidentity based on “blood ties”, such as Germany ong>andong> Japan. The membership tothe German or the Japanese nation was determined by one’s lineage orbloodline. For example, anybody with a German descent is welcomed into theGerman nation. This explains that the citizenship right was granted to all thereturning individuals with German descent that were scattered over Eastern9 Idem 110 In Canada for example, both the English ong>andong> the French settlers came with strong ethnicheritages ong>andong> they had to recognize one another their cultural differences. It is true that theBritish tried to blend the French into the British mainstream, though that was not possibleong>andong> starting very early in the process ong>ofong> nation-building they had to ong>ofong>ficially recognize thecultural right for the Francophone community (e.g. the Quebec Act passes in 1774 grantedlinguistic ong>andong> religious rights to the French majority; Kivisto, 2002, 87).9


10Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Europe ong>andong> the fact that that they were also ong>ofong>fered a generous state support fortheir social accommodation in the form ong>ofong> housing benefits, pension rights ong>andong>other social benefits. Nevertheless, the same generosity was not replicatedtowards ethnic immigrants ong>ofong> different ancestries that came to reside inGermany. Towards other ethnic groups within their borders, Germany adoptedan exclusionary policy that sought to prevent their incorporation into the Germansociety. The members ong>ofong> those ethnic groups were denied the right to citizenshipong>andong> were the subject ong>ofong> political, economical ong>andong> social discrimination. 11 Similarwith the German case the Japanese national identity is constructed based on iussanguis (“blood ties”) as the Japanese “have historically viewed themselves as ahomogenous society that is racially distinct ong>andong> superior to outside ethnicgroups” (Kivisto, 2002, 112). Thus, like its German counterpart, the Japanesegovernment has ignored ong>andong> marginalized the other ethnic groups.The exclusionary models developed by these countries are centered onthe political ong>andong> social exclusion ong>ofong> their ethnic minorities, while attempting toculturally assimilate them. At the most basic level the political exclusion startedwith the denial ong>ofong> citizenship to the members ong>ofong> the ethnic or racial groups ong>andong>the restriction ong>ofong> political participation ong>ofong> the ethnic minority groups. At thesocial level both states forged policies that produced unequal access toemployment for the ethnic/racial minorities which gradually placed the ethnicminorities in unskilled ong>andong> low-paying jobs that the Japanese or the Germanpeople avoided (Kivisto, 2002, 112&162) 12 . Also, their housing policyconcentrated ethnic minorities in certain spatial areas, usually at the citiesperipheries. The result ong>ofong> the political ong>andong> social exclusionary policies was asegregated society, in which the ethnic minorities were viewed ong>andong> treated asforeigners.In the present times, due to long time internal pressures from the ethnicgroups ong>andong> also due to the pressures from international community 13 , Germanyong>andong> Japan made efforts to reconsider their policy towards ethnic minorities. Onthe political realm, a new German immigration law grants the right to citizenship11 For example, the German educational system reinforces the ethnically based differenceswhile privileging the children ong>ofong> German descent12 For example, Koreans are the biggest ethnic group in Japan. Most ong>ofong> the Koreans rarelyhave good jobs ong>andong> most ong>ofong> them work as mine or factory workers or as manufacturers ong>andong>hong>andong>icrafts.13 European Union has been a decisive factor in making Germany to reconsider ong>andong> modifyits policies on citizenship


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008ong>ofong> the immigrant children born on German soil, without asking them to give uptheir ethnic culture. 14 This new law also liberalized the naturalization policies forforeign-born immigrants. Nevertheless, naturalization in Germany is a long ong>andong>complex procedure thus the naturalization rates remained very low even afterthe liberalization ong>ofong> naturalization for foreign born immigrants. Japan is moreresistant to change than Germany. While now it is possible for the members ong>ofong>different ethnicities that reside in Japan ong>andong> whose parents were born in Japan tobecome naturalized citizens ong>ofong> Japan, they can only become citizens at theexpense ong>ofong> their ethnicity. Thus, many ethnic minorities do not wish to becomenaturalized. For example, Koreans in Japan make up for 85% ong>ofong> the Japan’sresident “alien” population 15 . Most ong>ofong> the members ong>ofong> this ethnicity refuse tonaturalize as they see as shameful giving up their culture to go through ahumiliating process ong>ofong> assimilation which eventually will confer them citizenship.Hence, even though these countries seem to be more open in terms ong>ofong> ong>ofong>feringcitizenship to their ethnic minorities, their ong>ofong>fer is very restrictive ong>andong> reserved.The ethnic minorities still find themselves politically marginalized. Also, at thesocial ong>andong> economical level the segregation ong>ofong> ethnic minorities is still veryvisible. Ethnic minorities still confront higher level ong>ofong> unemployment ong>andong> they stilltend to occupy the most unskilled sectors ong>ofong> the economy. Also both ethnicminorities ong>andong> the Japanese ong>andong> German citizens tend to increase the residentialsegregation, as the ethnic minorities are choosing to live in ethnic neighborhoodsong>andong> the Germans ong>andong> Japanese chose to move out ong>ofong> the mixed areas.What is interesting is that together with their new citizenship ong>andong>naturalization law which improved the ethnic immigrant minorities’ access tocitizenship, Germany became more culturally assimilative towards its ethnicminorities. After the new citizenship law the ethnic minorities which aspired toacquire citizenship had to show that they identify themselves with the Germanlanguage ong>andong> culture. Thus, it is possible that Germany is slowly moving from anexclusionary attitude towards an assimilative approach ong>ofong> its ethnic minorities.14 Until the new citizenship ong>andong> naturalization law, all applicants had to demonstrate anidentification with the German culture; this requirement has been dropped ong>andong> the applicanthas to prove only that he is able to converse in German ong>andong> to sign a loyalty statement to theconstitution15 Daniel Strouthes. Koreans in Japan. World Culture Encyclopedia.http://www.everyculture.com/East-Southeast-Asia/Koreans-in-Japan.html11


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The other model ong>ofong> integration ong>ofong> ethnic minorities is through theirassimilation into the nation-state. This model is forged by countries like Franceong>andong> Belgium (Belgium is at the intersection ong>ofong> the political assimilationist ong>andong>multicultural models, with the French community pursuing the politicalassimilationist French model ong>andong> the Flemish community pursuing a multiculturalapproach). The political assimilationist model is based on the premise that all theindividuals should be assimilated into the society as citizens. Thus, theinhabitants ong>ofong> the state have access to citizenship ong>andong> through citizenship theindividual enters in a direct relation with the state which cannot be mediated byany kind ong>ofong> groups. Once they become citizens, all individuals have the samerights ong>andong> duties ong>andong> there are no policy differences that target the needs ong>ofong>different ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds.The reason why this model is still practiced today by certain nation-nationstates is deeply rooted in their history ong>andong> in the experiences with their differentethnic minorities.France had a long history ong>ofong> tension between the Church ong>andong> the state.The revolution ong>ofong> 1789 created a rupture between these two institutions ong>andong> theFrench society became secularized. The Revolution also created the base ong>ofong> theFrench national identity, by uniting all individuals under the doctrine ong>ofong> “liberty,equality, fraternity”, which became the core value ong>ofong> the French national culture.The French Revolution ideology attempted to create equality among individualsthrough sameness. Throughout centuries, the French state ong>andong> society haveremained loyal to the French Revolution ideology which explains why their modelong>ofong> integrating the ethnic minorities is oriented towards removing the ethnicaldifferences (from the public sphere) ong>andong> creating homogeneity within the Frenchsociety. France tries to integrate its ethnic minorities via civic assimilation; Franceis concentrated on the integration ong>ofong> the individuals ong>andong> not on that ong>ofong> thegroups. While rejecting their cultural accommodation, the access ong>ofong> ethnicminorities to citizenship ong>andong> naturalization is not exclusionary as we have seen inother states. France ong>ofong>fers citizenship based on both the “place ong>ofong> birth” ong>andong> alsoon “blood ong>andong> soil” laws ong>andong> the naturalization process is much less tedious thanthe one we have seen in Germany. The French government has also put in place aset ong>ofong> social policies to help the integration ong>ofong> ethnic individuals into the biggerFrench society by improving their housing, education ong>andong> employmentopportunities. Nevertheless, France’s efforts ong>ofong> civic assimilation ong>ofong> its ethnic12


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008minorities deemed to be unsuccessful. The ethnic groups clustered in ethnicghettos where they confront high levels ong>ofong> unemployment (Rudolph, 2006) 16 .Moreover, not only the ethnic communities did not get dismantled, but in theface ong>ofong> a growing religious diversity ong>ofong> the French population the principle ong>ofong>secularism also got challenged. The integration ong>ofong> a very large Muslim population(who now forms the largest immigrant population in France) created largedebates on the position ong>ofong> Islam in the French society. In the present times,France still pursues an assimilative policy towards its ethnic minorities.Nevertheless, the number ong>ofong> ethnic minorities that have retained their cultureong>andong> “are openly practicing their “foreign-ness” has increased (Rudolph, 2006,68). 17 Not willing to make compromises ong>andong> to recognize cultural diversity, Franceis now trying to restrict immigration (e.g. “by redefining asylum laws to limit theirapplications, by expelling refuges from civil wars immediately upon the cessationong>ofong> violence”; Rudolph, 2006 18 , 92) ong>andong> also to make more difficult the stay ong>ofong> thenoncitizens (e.g. by “denying noncitizens access to welfare”, by “moving refugesto points far from the majority ong>ofong> population” Rudolph 19 , 2006, 92).Belgium is one federal state, but is governed by two different visions onits ethnic minorities. In the case ong>ofong> Belgium, the Flemish ong>andong> the Francophonepolicy makers use different frameworks ong>ofong> integrating their ethnic minorities.While the Flemish government has adopted a model ong>ofong> integrating their ethnicminorities based on multiculturalism (in line with the Anglo-Saxon ong>andong> Dutchmodels), the Walloon ong>andong> the Brussels governments took on the French modelbased on assimilation. In other words, the mode ong>ofong> integration ong>ofong> the Walloonong>andong> the Brussels governments “is ethnocentric ong>andong> results in assimilation ong>andong>‘homogeneism’ - a fundamental non-acceptance ong>ofong> diversity” (Blommaert &Verschueren, 1994 20 ). As in France, these governments are focused on theintegration ong>ofong> the individuals ong>andong> not ong>ofong> that ong>ofong> groups. Their policies are16 Rudolph, Joseph. 2006. Politics ong>andong> Ethnicity: A Comparative. Study. JosephRudolph. London ong>andong> New York: Palgrave Macmillan.17 According to Rudolph (2006, 62) France contains now “at least five million Muslims,many ong>ofong> whom are beyond easy deportation because they were born or they becamenaturalized citizens ong>ofong> France”. Also, as many as 1.5 million immigrants from the 4 millionimmigrants exiting in France by 1990 have made the transition from foreign worker toFrench citizen (Rudolph, 2006, 68)18 Idem 1619 Idem 1620 Blommaert, J. ong>andong> Verschueren, J. 1994. The Belgian migrant debate, New Community 20(2): 227-251.13


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008targeting the socio-economic integration ong>ofong> individuals while ignoring the needsthat steam from the ethno-cultural differences.General conclusionsOne ong>ofong> the first remarks that steams from the analysis presented in thispaper is that nation-states developed philosophies about the way ethnic groupsshould be (or not be) integrated into their society that are strongly related withtheir historical experiences ong>andong> evolution. Integration is dependent on the way thestate defines its national identity ong>andong> is also dependent on the state’s nationbuildingprocess. For the states where the national identity was historically fusedwith the ethnic or racial identity (such as Germany ong>andong> Japan) a more inclusivesense ong>ofong> nationhood is very hard to achieve. Thus these states would tend todevelop exclusionary models to deal with their ethnic minorities that are centeredon their political ong>andong> social exclusion. At the most basic level the political exclusionis translated in the denial ong>ofong> citizenship to the members ong>ofong> the ethnic or racialgroups (on the premise that citizenship can be acquired only through bloodlineage) ong>andong> the restriction ong>ofong> political participation ong>ofong> the ethnic minority groups.At the social level states forge policies that produce unequal access toemployment, education ong>andong> housing for the ethnic/racial. On the other hong>andong>, thenation-states where the national identity did not have time to cement around asingle ethnic or racial identity (with a national identity that is not rigid ong>andong> that isnot inherently tied to a particular ethnic or racial identity) could more easilytransform ong>andong> expong>andong> their sense ong>ofong> peoplehood ong>andong> belongingness to the nationto include diverse ethnicities. Usually the transformation ong>ofong> their notion ong>ofong> nationalidentity is achieved by decreasing the salience ong>ofong> ethnicity ong>andong> increasing thesalience ong>ofong> civic belongingness. These nation-states are integrating their ethnicminorities without impinging on their particularity. Their governments get activelyinvolved in supporting ong>andong> promoting the ethnic diversity through policies thatrange from ones that are accommodating the ethnic groups’ specific religious ong>andong>cultural needs to policies that are empowering different political ethnicorganizations. There are also nation-states that have historically created a strictlycivic national identity, one in which ethnicity ong>andong> other types ong>ofong> group identities donot have a place (such as France). Even when faced with a growing ethnic diversity,these states seem to be adamant in pursuing a civic integration ong>ofong> their minorities14


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008ong>andong> disregard cultural differences. Overall, by comparing these findings, I would saythat the nation-states with a national identity created along the ethnic lines (I amreferring here at the mono-ethnic national identities) ong>andong> the nation-states with anational identity created strictly along civic lines are equally rigid towards ethnicdiversity. While the states with a national identity created along the ethnic lines donot want to integrate other ethnic groups based on the reason that the nation ong>andong>the state belongs only to the ones ong>ofong> the same blood, the nation-states with anational identity created strictly along civic lines is trying to dismantle ethnicity byputting accent on the integration ong>ofong> the individuals (ong>andong> not ong>ofong> the groups) ong>andong> alsoby forging cultural assimilation. We should also notice that the states with neitheran ethnic nor a strictly civic national identity can be more integrative ong>ofong> differentethnic minorities (such are the examples ong>ofong> Canada ong>andong> Australia).Another fact that steams from this analysis is that states tend to move(even if formal) towards a less rigid versions ong>ofong> integration that the one they haveadopted in the past. States that had assimilationist tendencies towards their ethnicminorities have moved in the present time towards multicultural policies. Such isCanada ong>andong> Australia which replaced the assimilationist policies ong>ofong> the past with amulticulturalist mode ong>ofong> integration ong>ofong> its ethnic minorities. These states aresupporting ong>andong> empowering the ethnic groups through state policies that rangefrom ones that are accommodating the ethnic groups’ specific religious ong>andong> culturalneeds to policies that are empowering different political ethnic organizations. Also,states that refused to integrate their ethnic/racial minorities seem to havesong>ofong>tened, even if formal, their exclusionary attitude towards their ethnic minorities.It is even possible that these states are slowly moving from an exclusionary attitudetowards an assimilative approach ong>ofong> their ethnic minorities.These states seem to redefine their notion ong>ofong> citizenship ong>andong> making itmore inclusionary, in order to integrate the ethnic minorities that have been longtime residents ong>ofong> the state. In the case ong>ofong> Germany for example, the access tocitizenship was granted only based on “blood ties”. In the present times Germanyadopted a new law that grants the right to citizenship to the immigrant childrenborn on German soil. This new law also liberalized the naturalization policies forforeign-born immigrants. Together with their new citizenship ong>andong> naturalizationlaw which improved the ethnic immigrant minorities’ access to citizenship,Germany became more culturally assimilative towards its ethnic minorities. Afterthe new citizenship law the ethnic minorities which aspired to acquire citizenship15


Andrada COSTOIUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008had to show that they identify themselves with the German language ong>andong> culture.Thus, it is possible that Germany is slowly moving from an exclusionary attitudetowards an assimilative approach ong>ofong> its ethnic minorities.The “more open” integration policies seem to be a response to the crisis ong>ofong>the nation-states in managing their increasing ethnic diversities. On one hong>andong>, inconfronting with an irreversible increasing ong>ofong> its ethnic diversity the state has beenchallenged in maintaining its national unity ong>andong> had to recreate ong>andong> expong>andong> thenotion ong>ofong> belongingness ong>andong> peoplehood in order to keep together or to includedifferent ethnic groups. On another hong>andong> the state’s attitudes towards diversity hasbeen challenged by increasing internal pressures from ethnic groups as well as byincreasing international pressures from international community challenge. Themovement towards more open modes ong>ofong> integration came also as a response tothese pressures.Nevertheless, we cannot generalize on the conclusion that that the nationstatestend to move (even if formal) towards a less rigid versions ong>ofong> integration.There are also states which have been adamant in the way they deal with theirethnic minorities. Instead ong>ofong> modifying their integration policies, these states tendto restrict the influx ong>andong> the settlement ong>ofong> new individuals into their society bymodifying their immigration ong>andong> naturalization policies.Limits ong>andong> shortcomingsThe typology ong>ofong> the models ong>ofong> integration ong>ofong> the ethnic minoritiespresented here is characterized by few shortcomings.First, the models ong>ofong> integration developed here are merely centered onstates’ policies ong>andong> responses towards their ethnic minority groups. They presentways in which nation-states integrate their ethnic minorities. However we do nothave to understong>andong> that ethnic minorities’ integration is realized only on a one wayavenue, which is from the state towards the ethnic minority groups. While thestate policies ong>andong> attitudes towards their ethnic minorities seem to be the mostsignificant factor for their integration within a nation state, it is also important toacknowledge the ethnic minorities’ efforts to integrate into the bigger society. Theintegration ong>ofong> the ethnic minority groups is also dependent on their willingness ong>andong>efforts to integrate. On one hong>andong>, not all ethnic minorities are willing to integrateinto a nation-state. When dealing with these types ong>ofong> minorities even the most16


Modes ong>ofong> Minorities’ IntegrationJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008open integration models would deem to be ineffective. For example the integrationong>ofong> the Romany communities in Romania has been promoted ong>andong> facilitated throughnumerous governmental policies. These targeted the improvement ong>ofong> theeducation ong>ofong> the Romany children in special education classes, the equal access forthe Romany population to employment ong>andong> housing ong>andong> the right ong>ofong> the Romanypopulation to enhance ong>andong> protect their ethnic identity.Nevertheless, thesecommunities manifested a great unwillingness to integrate ong>andong> they continue toremain insulated. The ethnic Romany population has Romanian citizenship, thoughthey do not vote. Despite the fact that they have organized a political party (“theParty ong>ofong> the Roma”) to politically represent their minority, the Romany politicalparticipation is minor. Also, the Roman communities continues to deny education(ong>andong> as a result they have a very high illiteracy level) ong>andong> continues in practicingtheir traditional prong>ofong>essions (e.g. horse trading, melting copper ong>andong> other metals).On another hong>andong>, some ethnic minorities are more assertive than others ong>andong> theytend to politically intervene ong>andong> influence their integration process. As a result it ispossible that they could get better integrated into a nation-state.Second, the models ong>ofong> integration developed are centered only on thestate level. Thus, these models do not allow assessing ong>andong> explaining any localvariations within countries (assuming that some cities or regions more openedtowards their ethnic diversity than other).17


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008Through the Fear: A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’sRefugee System Janet McKnightAbstract. In light ong>ofong> the May 2008 xenophobic attacks in Gauteng ong>andong> Western CapeProvinces, this paper explains the process ong>ofong> refugee law in South Africa as stated in theoryong>andong> as implemented in practice. ong>Researchong> was compiled through visits to refugee camps,townships, South African Parliament, regional prisons, judicial inspectorates, universities,ong>andong> community events in ong>andong> near Cape Town during June 2008. The South AfricanRefugees Act guarantees protection to refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers in conformity withinternational treaties ong>andong> the South African Constitution. However, these rights are seldomrealized due to a delay processing ong>ofong> asylum applications by the Department ong>ofong> HomeAffairs, corruption in immigration enforcement, ong>andong> a lack ong>ofong> education in civil society as tothe difference between refugees ong>andong> voluntary migrants. Refugees are left vulnerable tothe violence ong>ofong> those South African citizens that believe all immigrants are illegally presentto take advantage ong>ofong> employment ong>andong> social opportunities. In an attempt to eliminate thefearfulness towards foreigners ong>andong> bring the plight ong>ofong> refugees further to the forefront ong>ofong>international dialogue, general recommendations are made to the South AfricanGovernment, its departments, ong>andong> the citizens ong>ofong> South Africa.Keywords: refugee, xenophobia, South AfricaIntroductionEvery story is about finding something. A long lost friend, life’s purpose or,perhaps, answers. A refugee’s story is about finding peace ong>andong> safety. But arefugee’s story in South Africa is first about finding tolerance.The xenophobic attacks that began May 11 in Johannesburg’s Alexong>andong>riatownship have left 62 people dead, constituting the worst violence in the country This article is a result ong>ofong> research ong>andong> on-field experience gained by Janet McKnight, aTulane University Law School student while interning at Projects Abroad Human RightsOffice for June 2008. Moreover, the research assistance ong>andong> supervision ong>ofong> TheodoreKamwimbi, the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office Manager, for this article isacknowledged ong>andong> much appreciated.18


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008since the end ong>ofong> apartheid. The United Nations Office ong>ofong> the Resident Coordinatorfor South Africa published a report on 3 June 2008, entitled “Violence AgainstForeigners in South Africa,” which detailed the chronology ong>ofong> the events. Onehundred refugee camp sites are currently housing more than 30,000 displacedpeople. 1 A disaster was declared in Johannesburg, Gauteng Province; a similardeclaration has yet to be issued for the Western Cape, which plays host to thelargest number ong>ofong> displaced persons—nearly 20,000. 2 On the campus ong>ofong> theUniversity ong>ofong> the Western Cape, Prong>ofong>essor Julia Sloth-Nielsen described the attacksthat took place in Cape Town as occurring “like cannons, one after the next, eachhour.” 3 The attacks in the country are also the first time since 1994 that SouthAfrican troops have been deployed to stop violence on the streets. The xenophobicattacks in South Africa have stirred many discussions concerning the reasons forthe violence, the acceptability ong>ofong> the government’s response, ong>andong> the need forimproved immigration policies. At the heart ong>ofong> the issue is a question that likelydwells in the minds ong>ofong> many refugees in South Africa: “Is this really a place to callhome?” 4The xenophobic violence stems from fear ong>andong> anger by South African localsthat believe their jobs, women, ong>andong> resources are threatened by the arrival ong>ofong>foreigners. There is a rampant misconception in the country that all immigrants are“illegal aliens” ong>andong>, therefore, a threat to the thriving but unstable new democracyin South Africa. It will be useful to clarify the vocabulary used in this paper inreferring to various immigrant groups. An “asylum seeker” refers to a person who isin the process ong>ofong> applying for asylum/refugee status. The term “refugee” is meantto refer to a person who has already been granted refugee status. At times,“refugees” is also used in general terms to denote all people who have left theircountry ong>ofong> origin due to persecution or political upheaval.Fear is at the basis ong>ofong> refugee law not only in theory but in definition. Basedon customary international law, a refugee has the right to seek asylum in another1 United Nations, Office ong>ofong> the Resident Coordinator South Africa, “Violence AgainstForeigners in South Africa,” Situation Report 3, 3 June 2008.2 Ibid.3 Julia Sloth-Nielsen, interview by author, Bellville, South Africa, 5 June 2008.4 Question asked by Dr. Adekeye Adebajo, Executive Director ong>ofong> ong>Centreong> for ConflictResolution in the, panel discussion entitled “Xenophobia – Why now, where to next?”,organised by the Institute ong>ofong> Justice ong>andong> Reconciliation at the University ong>ofong> Cape Town on 3June 2008.19


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008country when they have a fear ong>ofong> persecution. Protection for refugees in Africa isfound in both the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status ong>ofong>Refugees (“UN Refugee Convention”) ong>andong> the 1969 Organization ong>ofong> African UnityRefugee Convention Governing the Specific Aspects ong>ofong> Refugee Problems in Africa(“OAU Refugee Convention”). South Africa is a signatory to both.Domestically, refugees are entitled to protection by the South African Billong>ofong> Rights ong>andong> the Refugees Act ong>ofong> 1998. But the extensive gap between refugee lawin theory ong>andong> the law as implemented in practice in South Africa unfortunatelyresults in many refugees not experiencing the rights ong>andong> protections guaranteed tothem.A woman refugee, who spoke at a Parliamentary Seminar on ong>Migrationong> ong>andong>Xenophobia to acknowledge World Refugee Day on 20 June 2008, expressed with adeep sadness in her voice that she came to South Africa for peace ong>andong> protectionong>andong> instead she has found only “pain in the heart ong>andong> pain in the mind.” 5 Thiswoman heard South Africa was a democratic haven capable ong>ofong> protecting her frompersecution but found that her dream was flawed. In his speech to mark Africa Day,President Thabo Mbeki acknowledged the xenophobic violence as “an absolutedisgrace. 6South Africa is still learning how to be a democracy. The plight ong>ofong> refugeesdraws attention to the issues ong>ofong> government corruption, cooperation among civilsociety, individual mindsets based on ignorance, ong>andong> a society that cannot yet stepaway from the shadow ong>ofong> apartheid. Through research ong>andong> firsthong>andong> observationong>andong> interviews, this paper describes the issues surrounding xenophobia, the gapbetween refugee law ong>andong> refugee reality in the country, ong>andong> the efforts that havebeen taken thus far to improve the situation. Lastly, the paper proposes generalrecommendations for South Africa to reach its potential as a true home country tothose in need ong>ofong> protection ong>andong> acceptance.Issues Stemming from the Xenophobic AttacksCulture ong>ofong> ExclusionXenophobia is defined as a “fear ong>andong> hatred ong>ofong> strangers or foreigners or ong>ofong>anything that is strange or foreign.” 7 Out ong>ofong> this false impression ong>ofong> the unknown5 Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs ong>andong> Foreign Affairs ong>andong> South African ong>Migrationong>Project, Parliamentary Seminar ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>andong> Xenophobia, South African Parliament,Cape Town, 20, June 2008.6 Thebo Mbeki, Africa Day speech, South African Parliament, 25 May 2008.7 Merriam-Webster, 11th ed., s.v. “Xenophobia.”20


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008ong>andong> unfamiliar, immigrants to South Africa are ong>ofong>ten called makwerekwere oramagrigamba, derogatory taunts meant to cast intimidation ong>andong> hate towards foreigners. 8South Africa has long been the host ong>ofong> other African immigrants, many ong>ofong> them refugees.Mozambicans in the 1980s, Nigerians in the early 1990s ong>andong> those from Angola, Somalia,Rwong>andong>an, Burundi, Congo ong>andong> Democratic Republic ong>ofong> the Congo in the late 1990s, have allmade their way to the Rainbow Nation in hopes ong>ofong> safety. In recent months, theimmigration numbers have included many Zimbabweans fleeing the political turnedhumanitarian crisis. But why South Africa?In the 1990s, the political shift to democracy in South Africa ong>andong> the relativelydeveloped economy, coupled with civil wars ong>andong> political instability in other Africancountries, led to an influx ong>ofong> migration. Because ong>ofong> the vast increase in the number ong>ofong>refugees ong>andong> the feared impact on the economic structure ong>ofong> the country, South Africa hasfocused less on refugee protection ong>andong> more on containment, expulsion, ong>andong> denial ong>ofong>rights. If exclusion is not successful, the focus becomes deportation or forced repatriation,even if it is not yet safe for someone to return to their country ong>ofong> origin.This culture ong>ofong> fear ong>andong> exclusion has spread beyond national boundaries as theviolence has reached not only foreigners but South Africans as well. Of the 62 people whohave died in the attacks this year, 21 were South African citizens—as confirmed byGovernment communications head Themba Maseko. 9 If a person has a slightly differentskin color or is heard speaking a different language they may be a target ong>ofong> violence. Somelocal South African languages are also widely spoken by people ong>ofong> bordering countries, suchas Shangan in Mozambique, thus leading to cases where a local is thought to be a foreignerong>andong>, therefore, seen as a threat. 10Immigration in South Africa has always included a racial component. With theNational Party coming to power in 1948, the community ong>ofong> white South Africans wasencouraged to reinforce the white minority. But currently, it seems that the hatred againstforeigners is replacing the divide between white ong>andong> black South Africans. Author AntoineBouillon writes that black South Africans are just coming out ong>ofong> oppression ong>andong> have muchto learn; that apartheid taught them that Africa is just South Africa.” 11 This isolation ong>ofong> thecountry during apartheid has resulted in a closed society.8 Dickson Jere “Zim exiles face new fear ong>andong> loathing in SA,” AFP: Johannesburg, 14 May2008.9 Sapa, “21 SA citizens died in xenophobic violence: GOVT,” The Citizen, 12 June 2008.Available at http://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=68216,1,22.10 “Locals Killed in S Africa Attacks,” BBC, 12 June 2008. Available athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7450799.stm.11 Alan Morris ong>andong> Antoine Bouillon, eds., African Immigration to South Africa:Francophone migration ong>ofong> the 1990s, (Pretoria: Protea Book House, 2001),135.21


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Relationship between Government ong>andong> Civil SocietyThe South African Immigration Act (“Immigration Act”) states that “immigrationcontrol is performed within the highest applicable stong>andong>ards ong>ofong> human rights protection.” 12The Immigration Act mong>andong>ates a shared effort between Government ong>andong> civil society todecrease xenophobia ong>andong> ensure correct implementation ong>ofong> immigration procedures. 13This is evidenced by including representatives from civil society on the teams that proposedrefugee policies in the Green Paper ong>andong>, later the Draft White Paper. 14 However, a strongdivide between Government ong>andong> the community has bred an atmosphere ong>ofong> noncooperation.People in South African communities believe they must take their own actionsagainst migrants in lieu ong>ofong> insufficient response from President Mbeki, the Department ong>ofong>Home Affairs (“DHA”), ong>andong> other government ong>ofong>fices. Finding cooperation with communityleaders at the legislative ong>andong> implementation stages ong>ofong> lawmaking is necessary if the SouthAfrican Parliament is to enforce immigration ong>andong> refugee policy at the community level. 15Misconception between Refugees ong>andong> Illegal ForeignersSome immigrants are illegally present in South Africa ong>andong> searching for jobs ratherthan refugee status. And some casual labor, such as gardening ong>andong> construction, is beinghired out to foreign nationals who are willing to complete the job for a cheaper wage. Butin this controversy comes the misconception between immigrants, illegal aliens, ong>andong>refugees.Many locals believe all immigrants came to South Africa to take advantage ong>ofong> thecountry’s new democracy ong>andong> relative economic ong>andong> political stability compared to otherAfrican countries. It is seen as a purely opportunistic move on the part ong>ofong> foreigners to“steal” the scarce resources only recently made available to black South Africans sincethe introduction ong>ofong> equality. Some believe that the country has reached its fullcapacity ong>andong> that there is no room for the benefits that immigrants can provide.Immigrants who arrive from other countries in Africa may have more educationong>andong> will attain the jobs that South Africans feel are owed to the local populationpost-apartheid. The truth is that many refugees barely escaped with their lives ong>andong>12 South African Immigration Act, sec. 1.13 South African Immigration Act, sec. m.14 Draft Refugee White Paper submitted by the White Paper for Refugee Affairs Task Team:(Gazette 18988, Notice 1122), vol. 396, Pretoria, 19 j:[19 June 1998].15South African Immigration Act, sec. 2(b).22


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008are simply trying to acclimate into South African society, which includes earning anincome to support any family they have left after running so far from home.Another challenge to the misconception ong>ofong> asylum seekers is the increasingpresence ong>ofong> economic refugees, for which there is no international protection. It isestimated that there are three million Zimbabwe exiles in South Africa, most ong>ofong> which areconsidered economic migrants because the international community has been hesitant todeclare the situation in Zimbabwe a political crisis. 16 Therefore, Zimbabwe immigrants thatare not granted refugee status are vulnerable to attacks from South African citizens. Whenthe South African Government refuses to recognize people from Zimbabwe as politicalrefugees this only fuels the belief in the townships that foreigners came to South Africa tocompete for employment.Influencing the Minds ong>ofong> IndividualsSomehow the minds ong>ofong> those in the poorer ong>andong> most violent-ridden communitiesmust be reached. But how do you change someone’s mind? One challenge is getting closeenough in these communities to educate people about their fears. The other challenge isconvincing someone that the reason they are angry is because they are fearful. Acommissioner for the South African Human Rights Commission (“SAHRC”) Zonke Majodinaargues, one ong>ofong> the functions ong>ofong> the DHA, according to Section 29(2)(e) ong>ofong> the South AfricanImmigration Bill, is to educate communities ong>andong> civil society on the rights ong>ofong> refugees,foreigners, ong>andong> illegal foreigners, as well as to conduct activities to prevent xenophobia. 17The Government has failed to promote such education ong>andong> cooperation.In addition to the various stong>andong>ards for human rights that South Africa has pledgedto uphold in its international agreements ong>andong> in its Constitution, there is another motive forending the violence: Xenophobic attacks will not serve the purpose ong>ofong> the perpetratorsbecause they are built on a flawed philosophy.Following the end ong>ofong> apartheid, the Truth ong>andong> Reconciliation Commission(“Commission”) was established to allow perpetrators ong>ofong> crimes during apartheid to applyfor amnesty. Commission Chair Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained that the purpose ong>ofong>the Commission was to discover truth, start to heal, ong>andong> learn what to avoid in the future. 18At the Commission meeting for the death ong>ofong> American Amy Biehl, one ong>ofong> her murderers16 Dickson Jere “Zim exiles face new fear ong>andong> loathing in SA,” AFP: Johannesburg, 14 May2008.17 Zonke Majodina, “The immigration bill from a human rights perspective,” 72.18 Long Night's Journey Into Day - South Africa's Search for Truth ong>andong> Reconciliation, dir.Deborah Hong>ofong>fman ong>andong> Frances Reid, 94 min., Reid-Hong>ofong>fman Productions, 2000,videocassette.23


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008explained “if we had been living reasonably we would not have killed her.” 19 A Commissionmember responded by asking him how he could possibly believe that killing a person wouldbring about any ong>ofong> his objectives. In comparison to the perpetrators ong>ofong> the recentxenophobic attacks, the justification for murder may be similar—that they are not “livingreasonably.” Many people in the townships where the attacks occurred feel moreoppressed than they did during apartheid. Many are without jobs or adequate food. Buteven if this is a justification for being angry, murdering immigrants does not result infulfilling the deterrence objective ong>ofong> the violence.Foreigners will not stop entering South Africa ong>andong> competing with locals for jobsbecause many are refugees who have no other choice. So again here lies the challenge ong>ofong>explaining to oppressed South Africans that their problems are not solved by channelingtheir fear ong>ofong> the perceived threat ong>ofong> foreigners into violent reactions.When a person encounters something new or different it takes great courage towant to understong>andong> it rather than to fear it. As Susan Brown mentions in the article “Moneyong>andong> Morality,” when speaking ong>ofong> economic development, “confidence is an essentialelement for growth.” 20 This idea works the same with social ong>andong> cultural development.People must have the confidence to successfully grow within their situations. What thepeople ong>ofong> South Africa need right now is the confidence ong>andong> the courage to startunderstong>andong>ing what they fear.Refugee Law in South AfricaThe Refugees Act ong>ofong> 1998In its international agreements, South Africa has conceded to the 1951 UNRefugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status ong>ofong> Refugees, the 1969 OAURefugee Convention, ong>andong> the 1948 UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights. 21 The UNRefugee Convention protects those fleeing their country due to a well-founded fear ong>ofong>persecution for reasons ong>ofong> race, religion, national origin, political opinion or membership ina particular social group. 22 The OAU Refugee Convention broadened the definition toinclude those refugees whose political rights are violated or threatened. 23In its domestic efforts to acknowledge ong>andong> protect refugees, the South AfricanRefugees Act (“Refugees Act”) was passed in 1998, ong>andong> finally implemented on April 1,19 Ibid.20 Susan Brown, “Money ong>andong> Morality: Transformation Audit,” Institute for Justice ong>andong>Reconciliation (2006): xii.21 South African Refugees Act, sec. 6(1).22 1951 UN Convention on the Status ong>ofong> Refugees.23 The OAU was replaced by the African Union in July 2002.24


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 20082000. 24 According to the Refugees Act, a person cannot be refused entry into the countryor be forced to leave if:(a) owing to a well-founded fear ong>ofong> being persecuted by reason ong>ofong> his or her race,tribe, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership ong>ofong> a particular social group, isoutside the country ong>ofong> his or her nationality ong>andong> is unable or unwilling to avail himself orherself ong>ofong> the protection ong>ofong> that country, or, not having a nationality ong>andong> being outside thecountry ong>ofong> his or her former habitual residence is unable or, owing to such fear, unwilling toreturn to it; or(b) owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or eventsseriously disturbing or disrupting public order in either a part or the whole ong>ofong> his or hercountry ong>ofong> origin or nationality, is compelled to leave his or her place ong>ofong> habitual residencein order to seek refuge elsewhere; or(c) is a dependant ong>ofong> a person contemplated in paragraph (a) or (b). 25Section 27 ong>ofong> the Refugees Act states that refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers enjoy fulllegal protection under the provisions ong>ofong> the Bill ong>ofong> Rights under Chapter 2 ong>ofong> the SouthAfrican Constitution, which means they are entitled to the same rights as citizens (exceptthe right to vote or be elected to ong>ofong>fice). 26 A refugee is also entitled to freedom fromarbitrary detentions ong>andong> arrests ong>andong> may not experience an unwarranted detention formore than 30 days. 27 The right to remain, to pursue an identity document, interview for atravel document, seek employment ong>andong> study, ong>andong> to receive basic health services ong>andong>primary education is also, in theory, guaranteed to refugees in South Africa. 28Asylum ProcessThe process ong>ofong> applying for refugee status in South Africa begins with theDHA. An immigration ong>ofong>ficer at the border will issue a 14-day temporary permit toan asylum seeker upon entry into the country, within which time the asylum seekermust without delay file an application in person to a Refugee Receiving Officer atone ong>ofong> the five Refugee Reception Offices—Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town,24Before the implementation ong>ofong> the Refugees Act, the only legal instrument dealing with thelaw ong>ofong> refugees in South Africa was the apartheid-era Aliens Control Act ong>ofong> 1991.25 South African Refugees Act, sec. 3.26 South African Refugees Act, sec. 27.27 South African Refugees Act, sec. 29(1).28 South African Refugees Act, sec. 27.25


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Durban, ong>andong> Port Elizabeth. 29 If the person does not reach an ong>ofong>fice before theexpiration ong>ofong> the 14-day permit they are deemed an illegal immigrant ong>andong> subjectto arrest ong>andong> deportation. 30When an asylum application is filed, a Refugee Receiving Officer gives theapplicant an asylum seeker permit, which must be renewed every three monthsong>andong> allows the applicant to temporarily stay in the country ong>andong> to pursue work orstudy. After two interviews, a Refugee Status Determination Officer makes adecision on whether to grant a refugee status or reject the application asfraudulent or unfounded. The ong>ofong>ficer can also choose to refer any questions ong>ofong> lawor fraudulent applications to the Stong>andong>ing Committee for Refugee Affairs. 31 Anyappeals as to unfounded applications are reviewed by the Refugee Appeal Board. 32If asylum is granted to the applicant, they receive a refugee status for aperiod ong>ofong> two years ong>andong> must actively renew the status within three months ong>ofong> itsexpiry to obtain a second status lasting a four-year period. After five years ong>ofong>continuous residence ong>andong> recognized refugee status in South Africa, a refugee mayapply for indefinite refugee status. 33 Five years after attaining permanentresidence, a refugee may apply for naturalization to become a South Africancitizen.Refugee RealityDocumentation ong>andong> DetentionThere are approximately 50,000 applications for asylum each year in SouthAfrica. 34 The South African Immigration Act states in its preamble that “temporaryong>andong> permanent residence permits are issued as expeditiously as possible.” 35 Inaddition, the preamble states “the needs ong>andong> aspirations ong>ofong> the age ong>ofong>globalization” are to be respected by the policies set out by the Act. 36 The UN HighCommissioner on Refugees (“UNHCR”) also consistently notes the need for asylum29 Human Rights Watch, Living on the Margins: Inadequate protection for refugees ong>andong>asylum seekers in Johannesburg (New York: Human Rights Watch, November 2005), Vol. 17,No. 15(A).30 Ibid.31 South African Refugees Act, sec.24 (3)(b).32 South African Refugees Act 24(c)(3).33 South African Refugees Act, sec.27(c).34 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Global Appeal (Geneva: UNHCR,2008-2009).35 South African Immigration Act, section (a).36 South African Immigration Act, section (d).26


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008seekers to experience “efficient, expeditious ong>andong> fair” process ong>ofong> their applicationsong>andong> claims. 37 In reality, asylum seekers wait in line for weeks ong>andong> sometimesmonths outside a reception ong>ofong>fice.Refugees want to exercise their right to work in South Africa so they canone day go back to their country ong>ofong> origin ong>andong> “make *South Africa+ proud ong>ofong>ong>ofong>fering us those opportunities,” says one refugee from the Democratic Republic ong>ofong>the Congo. 38 Although both refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers have the right to workong>andong> study, many employers refuse to hire them ong>andong> schools are more reluctant toaccept foreign students. Employers express hesitation at hiring a refugee because iftheir status papers expire ong>andong> are not renewed the employer will have to retrainanother worker for the job. Even if a refugee has legitimate status papers, they areong>ofong>ten unable to open bank accounts without also possessing a passport or thegreen South African identity card issued to citizens. Many ong>ofong> them encounter thebarrier: “Where is your green ID?” 39 It may be easier to get a passport if therefugee has studied in South Africa but to study would require loans ong>andong> a refugeecannot open a bank account to get a loan without first having the passport. Whenhearing refugees’ stories, this vicious cycle ong>ofong> bureaucracy becomes obvious ong>andong>disheartening.Those who are granted refugee status are eligible to apply for an identitydocument ong>andong> to interview for a travel document issued jointly by the UNHCR ong>andong>the DHA. The DHA’s delay in issuing these documents has resulted in theunwarranted arrest ong>andong> detention ong>ofong> refugees, who are sent to the immigrationsection ong>ofong> prisons. Any immigrant that is to be deported is detained in LindelaRepatriation Center near Johannesburg. Fourteen refugees from the Youngsfieldrefugee camp were arbitrarily arrested for intimidation in June 2008, ong>andong> held inPollsmoor Prison in Cape Town for twelve days. When they asked police to explainwhat “intimidation” they had committed, the ong>ofong>ficers had no answers, instead theyresponded by kicking the refugees ong>andong> taking their wallets ong>andong> watches. 4037 Human Rights Watch, Living on the Margins: Inadequate protection for refugees ong>andong>asylum seekers in Johannesburg (New York: Human Rights Watch, November 2005), Vol. 17,No. 15(A).38 Shirley Gunn ong>andong> Mary-Magdelene Tal, eds., Torn Apart: Thirteen refugee tell theirstories (Cape Town: Human Rights Media ong>Centreong>, 2003).39 Shirley Gunn ong>andong> Mary-Magdelene Tal, eds., Torn Apart: Thirteen refugees tell theirstories (Cape Town: Human Rights Media ong>Centreong>, 2003), 62.40 Statement made in the Youngsfield refugee camp by the group leader ong>ofong> detained refugees,during a visit to the camp by Projects Abroad Human Rights Office interns.27


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008It is the duty ong>ofong> the Judicial Inspectorate to give the prisoners anopportunity to file complaints about the conditions ong>ofong> the prison or the treatmentong>ofong> prisoners. But it is difficult to get an accurate picture ong>ofong> how refugees are treatedby other prisoners because the cruelty that occurs when the doors shut ong>andong> theprison closes for the night are things that “ought not to be reported,” said anong>ofong>ficial at the Office ong>ofong> the Inspecting Judge in Cape Town on 12 June 2008. 41Foreigners fear that if they complain ong>ofong> treatment by other prisoners there will berepercussions in the form ong>ofong> gang violence, due to refugees ong>ofong>ten being integratedinto the general prison population rather than being kept in the immigrationsection ong>ofong> the prison.Another problem occurs when refugees are released from prison ong>andong> riskbeing rearrested due to expired paperwork. These types ong>ofong> problems surroundingrefugees fall outside ong>ofong> the statutory mong>andong>ate ong>ofong> the Judicial Inspectorate;however, the organization makes attempts to refer these cases to the DHA. On theissue ong>ofong> xenophobia, Bertie Fritz, Regional Director, Office ong>ofong> the Inspecting Judge,explains, “Today it’s about drugs. Tomorrow it’s about fundamentalism. It’s alwaysabout the ‘other’.” 42 Somehow, South Africa has become obsessed with angertoward others. Whether on the streets ong>ofong> Cape Town or during arbitrary stints ong>ofong>detention in prisons, refugees have experienced the violence ong>andong> intimidationconnected with being grouped as “foreigners”—as the “other.”Refugee Camps ong>andong> Displacement ChallengesAs opposed to other migrants, many refugees see South Africa as only atemporary refuge before returning to their country ong>ofong> origin once it becomes safeagain. There is ong>ofong>ten no intention to permanently integrate into society. Manyrefugees come to South Africa because they have been told ong>ofong> its reputation as along>andong> ong>ofong> democracy ong>andong> tolerance. Unfortunately, they ong>ofong>ten find a country ong>ofong> terrormuch like the one from which they fled.Many refugees would rather return home after experiencing the frustrationong>ofong> the asylum process in South Africa ong>andong> the violence at the hong>andong>s ong>ofong> locals.However, repatriation becomes impossible as their funds have depleted in theprocess ong>ofong> getting to safety, or because the government has not declared it safe toreturn to their country ong>ofong> origin. Refugees are stuck trying to find safety in between41 The Office ong>ofong> the Judicial Inspectorate monitors many ong>ofong> the prison ong>andong> rehabilitationcenters in the Eastern ong>andong> Western Cape provinces.42 Bertie Fritz, interview by author, Cape Town, 12 June 2008.28


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008the borders. For those refugees whose protection cannot be guaranteed in South Africa,the UNHCR has adopted some durable solution procedures including resettlement toanother country, relocation within South Africa, voluntary repatriation ong>andong> familyreunification. 43 However, high levels ong>ofong> xenophobia or low levels ong>ofong> employment are notgrounds for resettlement.Approximately 100 refugee camps are currently in operation in South Africa,including Soetwater on the Cape ong>ofong> Good Hope, housing nearly 3,500 displaced people. 44The Youngsfield camp in Cape Town is home to 1,800 refugees from 13 countries.Disaster Risk Management ong>ofong>ficials try to keep families ong>andong> nationalities within the sametents, which are provided for by the military, the City ong>ofong> Cape Town ong>andong> community nonprong>ofong>itorganizations. Youngsfield, which went into operation on 23 May 2008, at therequest ong>ofong> the mayor ong>ofong> Cape Town, is the only refugee camp in the country that islocated on a military base.On 9 June 2008, Cape Town’s High Court ruled that community centers must beopened by the city to accommodate the people displaced following the xenophobicattacks. 45 There is a belief that moving the immigrants would only deepen the tensionsbetween the displaced ong>andong> local South Africans. 46 However, there is also the undeniablefact that the current living conditions are unacceptable with the camps being so poorlybuilt that wind effortlessly blows the tents to the ground during winter storms.Refugees in the camps are surviving but “not living,” as one woman communityleader in Youngsfield described. 47 Children are not getting enough to eat ong>andong> refugeesare given only cold water for showers, incorrect medications ong>andong> dog blankets to sleep inat night. Refugees are free to leave the camp during the day to go to school or work,facing the intimidation ong>ofong> the violent community that awaits them. Many refugees fromSomalia located at the Soetwater refugee camp told human rights activists that theywere violently kicked out ong>ofong> Gugulethu Township when they tried to collect theirbelongings. Two ong>ofong> them, while showing their scars, explained how they survived theshootings from angry local South Africans who are not prepared to welcome into thecommunity any foreigner from other African countries.43 Lawyers for Human Rights, Refugee Information Guide ong>andong> Directory ong>ofong> Services, (SouthAfrica: Lawyers for Human Rights).44 Clare Nullis, “Cape Town to fight court order to move the displaced,” Miami Herald, 10June 2008.45 Ibid.46 Ibid.47 Statement made in the Youngsfield refugee camp during a visit to the camp by ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office interns.29


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008One Rwong>andong>an refugee in Youngsfield explained that she leaves the camp duringthe day to pursue her studies at the University ong>ofong> the Western Cape. Although she hasbeen in South Africa for six years, she was granted asylum status just one year ago. Sheexplained that there is a small sense ong>ofong> security within the walls ong>ofong> the refugee camps butthat she has not felt safe in all her time in South Africa. “Xenophobia did not start amonth ago with the attacks,” she said.A South African Defense Force lieutenant at Youngsfield explained that manySomalis in the camp went on a hunger strike in June to reinforce their dissatisfaction withnot being relocated to a third country, such as Australia or Canada. 48 Some refugees maynot realize that resettlement can take years to complete ong>andong> is only granted to roughlyone percent ong>ofong> the refugees in the world. 49 Getting refugees a definite status ong>andong>integrating them into society should be one ong>ofong> the main objectives as opposed tocontinued stay in the interim camps or a move to community centers, which would alsobe a temporary fix to the growing crisis.A conversation overheard between two young girls in Youngsfield decisivelyillustrates the plight ong>ofong> refugees in South Africa.—I can’t go home to Burundi. They are fighting there.—I can’t wait to go home!—You can’t. They are fighting in Somalia, too.—I don’t care. I want to see my grong>andong>father ong>andong> grong>andong>mother again.—Well, I can’t go back. But I can’t stay in South Africa. I don’t know where wewill go from here.CorruptionIn theory, the road from asylum seeker to South African citizen should take tenyears, as explained in the previous section on the asylum process. However, ill-informedapplicants ong>andong> ill-trained law enforcement, combined with the lack ong>ofong> a centralizedprocessing system, delay the progress ong>ofong> legitimate refugees finding a safe haven. Theprocess ong>ofong> attaining refugee status is free ong>ofong> charge, again, in theory. The reality is thatbribes are prevalent ong>andong> difficult to avoid.48 Statement made in the Youngsfield refugee camp during a visit to the camp by ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office interns.49 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 2007 Global Trends: Refugees,Asylum-seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced ong>andong> Stateless Persons (Geneva: UNHCR,June 2008).30


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008A group ong>ofong> refugees once informed Human Rights Watch that they paid ZAR400just to be allowed to enter the ong>ofong>fice to file their application. 50 Many asylum seekers aregiven fraudulent paperwork by ong>ofong>ficials in return for under-the-table cash, therefore,leaving the refugee without their money, their eligibility for asylum (because they havenow violated South African law), ong>andong> without legitimate documentation. The refugeemay not be able to recognize that their paperwork is improper until they are arrested ong>andong>detained.Some refugees allege that government ong>ofong>ficials not only solicit bribes ong>andong>distribute fraudulent papers but they also support criminals in the victimization ong>ofong>foreigners. One Somali refugee in the Youngsfield refugee camp described that when hisshop was robbed, the cops ignored his complaint ong>andong> told him to leave the country. 51 Healready lost his wife ong>andong> children in his escape from Somalia. After the demolishing ong>ofong> hisshop, he lost all the property he owned—worth ZAR400,000.If the DHA can efficiently issue documents ong>andong> better train immigration ong>andong>police ong>ofong>ficers to recognize ong>andong> honor refugee papers, then refugees will be able to work,open bank accounts to take out loans for housing ong>andong> continued studies. This efficiencyong>andong> transparency will help refugees integrate into their new communities by giving thema legitimized status ong>andong> erasing the need ong>ofong> locals to fear them. Many refugees havealready lost all that they care about—family ong>andong> friends—at the hong>andong>s ong>ofong> a treacherousjourney to South Africa. If the government can lessen the ring ong>ofong> corruption, refugees willnot lose all the rest that they have—money saved or businesses built—at the hong>andong>s ong>ofong>the country they risked everything to reach.Efforts to Improve the Plight ong>ofong> RefugeesDHA ong>andong> the Refugees Amendment BillThe DHA is currently attempting to make the refugee process moreefficient by proposing amendments to the Refugees Act ong>ofong> 1998. The RefugeesAmendment Bill (“the Bill”) was passed in the National Assembly after beingpresented to ong>andong> finalized by the Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Home50 Human Rights Watch, Living on the Margins: Inadequate protection for refugees ong>andong>asylum seekers in Johannesburg (New York: Human Rights Watch, November 2005), Vol.17, No. 15(A)51 Statement made in the Youngsfield refugee camp during a visit to the camp by ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office interns.31


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Affairs on 3 June 2008. 52 On June 17, discussion ong>ofong> the Bill began in the NationalCouncil ong>ofong> Provinces (“NCOP”) with a briefing presented by the DHA to the SelectCommittee on Social Services. 53 If passed in the NCOP, the Bill would be sent backto the National Assembly for review ong>ofong> any NCOP amendments ong>andong> furtheracceptance by the Assembly before being sent forward for Presidential approval.The specific changes provided for in the Bill seek to amend definitions, suchas adding “gender” as a ground for well-founded fear ong>ofong> persecution, bringing theAct in alignment with the UN Refugee Convention. 54 The Bill also provides for thedissolution ong>ofong> the Stong>andong>ing Committee for Refugee Affairs ong>andong> the Refugee AppealBoard, ong>andong> the establishment ong>ofong> a Refugee Appeals Authority ong>andong> to provide forclearer obligations ong>andong> rights ong>ofong> asylum seekers. Adv. Deon Erasmus, Chief Directorong>ofong> Legal Services for the DHA, explained that this change streamlines the processbecause many ong>ofong> the functions performed by the Stong>andong>ing Committee, such asunfounded applications, are already performed by DHA Legal Services. 55 A maincritique ong>ofong> the Refugee Appeals Authority is that it could not be a fully independentbody since its members ong>andong> chairperson are to be appointed by the Ministry ong>ofong> theDHA.The Bill further amends the Refugees Act so that people can apply forasylum at any Refugee Reception Office ong>andong> that refugees can appeal a decision atany Magistrate Court rather than only in the High Court. 56 Both ong>ofong> these changeswould quicken the process by which applications ong>andong> appeals are filed ong>andong>processed. Previously, only the Minister ong>ofong> the Department could withdraw anapplication for asylum but the amendments would allow for the Director-Generalto also withdraw applications.Another improvement proposed by the Bill is to replace the marooncoloredrefugee identification cards with green documents that more closelyresemble the South African identity cards. The current cards are ong>ofong>ten not acceptedby police, banking institutions or employers. Making refugee identity cards moreconsistent with South African documents should decrease any confusion as to52 Refugees Amendment Bill (B 11B-2008) [database online]; available athttp://www.pmg.org.za/bill/20080604-refugees-amendment-bill-b11a-2008 (accessed 7 July2008).53 Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs briefing to Select Committee on Social Services, RefugeesAmendment Bill, South African Parliament, Cape Town, 17 June 2008.54 Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs briefing to Select Committee on Social Services, RefugeesAmendment Bill, South African Parliament, Cape Town, 17 June 2008.55 Ibid.56 Ibid.32


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008refugees’ rights in society. The new cards would still include a bar code that willclearly indicate the cardholder’s status as that ong>ofong> a refugee ong>andong> not a citizen.In order to regularize the status ong>ofong> displaced refugees ong>andong> asylum seekersin the camps, the DHA initiated issuance ong>ofong> identity cards in the Youngsfieldrefugee camp on 8 July 2008. 57 Military personnel in the camp indicated theidentity cards would be used to determine who was legitimately a member ong>ofong>Youngsfield camp. But nothing on the card (other than the “Place ong>ofong> Issue” section)indicates a refugees’ membership in the particular camp. The identity cards alsoshowed an expiry date ong>ofong> 8 January 2009, leading many refugees to feel they werebeing coerced into obtaining identity cards to negate the documentation ong>ofong> thosewho had status beyond the immediate next six months. 58The DHA admits to its inefficiency resulting in backlogged applications ong>andong>that this accumulation ong>ofong> pending paperwork leaves many asylum seekers injeopardy ong>ofong> unlawful arrest, detention ong>andong> deportation. 59 In addition to thepending Bill, the DHA also implemented a Turnaround Task Team in November2003. 60 The Team has already decreased the processing time for issuing an identitycard from an average ong>ofong> six months to an average ong>ofong> two ong>andong> a half months. 61 Inaddition, the Refugee Backlog Project has successfully processed approximately111,000 backlogged applications. 62Tales from a TownshipAs ong>ofong> 28 May 2008, it is estimated that 600 people have been arrested inconnection with xenophobic attacks ong>andong> 13,000 immigrants have moved from theirhomes in search ong>ofong> safety within police stations, city centers ong>andong> churches. 63 SifisoMbuyisa, director for social dialogue ong>andong> human rights in the Office ong>ofong> PremierEbrahim Rasool, described the three-pronged process ong>ofong> strengthening57 Information complied during a monitoring ong>ofong> the Youngsfield refugee camp in Cape Townon 8 July 2008.58 Ibid.59 South Africa Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs, Refugee Backlog Project [database online];available at: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/refugee_project.asp.60 Vivian Warby, “Home Affairs speeds up services,” SouthAfrica.info, 11 June 2008.61 Ibid.62 South Africa Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs, Refugee Backlog Project [database online];available at: http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/refugee_project.asp.63Yazeed Kamaldien, “Immigration ong>andong> locals begin mediation,” Southern Mail, 28 May2008.33


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008communities in the wake ong>ofong> these attacks. 64 The process begins with stabilizing thesituation ong>andong> preventing further violence. Second, relief ong>andong> support fromnongovernmental organizations provide foreigners with the ability to return totheir homes in their South African communities. Lastly, community leaders arebrought together to initiate conflict resolution. Mediation is used to calm thesimmering tensions among the community, but Mbuyisa urges that streetcommittees be reformed to work in conjunction with the police. 65An example ong>ofong> this community leadership ong>andong> cooperation is found in therelatively small township ong>ofong> Zwelihle (population 60,000), 115 kilometers southeastong>ofong> Cape Town. Willie Komphela, a preacher at a Bantu Church in the township, saidthe Somalis, Zimbabweans ong>andong> Angolans that have fled the township followingrecent vong>andong>alizing ong>ofong> their homes ong>andong> death threats on their shop windows willonly come back when the community makes them feel safe. Komphela believesthat “we are all human beings” ong>andong> the people in Zwelihle must realize thatforeigners are not present only for themselves but to help the local infrastructureby opening shops that provide jobs for South Africans who would otherwise beunemployed.Despite the harsh realities ong>ofong> xenophobia that have reached Zwelihle, theresponse ong>ofong> the community is rooted in positive energy. The night ong>ofong> the discoveryong>ofong> the death threats, community leaders called an emergency meeting with policeong>andong> the Premier ong>ofong> the Western Cape ong>ofong>fice to discuss the threats ong>andong> to distributepamphlets condemning the criminal acts. 66 A group ong>ofong> South Africans also joined tohelp the foreigners in Zwelihle patch up their homes ong>andong> shops. 67Responding to the Larger Causes Behind ong>Migrationong>Programs, such as the Reformulation ong>ofong> Refugee Law Project under JamesHathaway, which emphasizes repatriation ong>ofong> refugees, have been criticized for notgrappling with the causes behind the initial displacement ong>ofong> people. 68 Attempts todecrease the cause ong>ofong> migration will have to have a broader reach than just refugee lawreform. The political instability, tribal ong>andong> civil wars, ong>andong> starvation are just some ong>ofong> the64Ibid.65 Ibid.66 Liong>andong>a Beyers Cronje, “Death threats to foreigners,” Hermanus Times, 6 June 2008.67 Ibid.68 Southern African ong>Migrationong> Project, ong>Migrationong> Policy Brief No. 7, sec. 4.7.34


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008larger issues that must be tackled by the international community ong>andong> individual Africancountries.It is an ongoing ong>andong> long term goal for South Africa to help create stability on thecontinent ong>andong> cure the causes ong>ofong> migration but, in the meantime, African refugees need amore imminent solution. What the South African Government can do is shift the focus ong>ofong>its immigration policy back to one ong>ofong> protection rather than exclusion, ong>andong> promoteunderstong>andong> rather than fear ong>ofong> immigrants ong>andong> foreigners.Dialogue on World Refugee Day, June 20, 2008In light ong>ofong> the events surrounding migrants in South Africa ong>andong> the presence ong>ofong>World Refugee Day on June 20, 2008, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on HomeAffairs ong>andong> Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the South African ong>Migrationong> Project,conducted a public seminar on xenophobia.Minister ong>ofong> Home Affairs Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula reminded South Africansthat intolerance should not be payback for the years South Africans spent in exile duringapartheid. 69 The general trend in migration policy is to see migrants as a security risk ong>andong>an economic burden on the host country. Mapisa-Nqakula expressed that protectingrefugees is not about charity but humanity, ong>andong> that a more empowering migrationpolicy would be one focused on inclusion ong>andong> recognition ong>ofong> the skills that migrants bringto South Africa.Another speaker, Judith Cohen, Deputy Director, Parliamentary Liaison ong>andong>Legislation Monitoring, SAHRC, noted that never before in history had such a largenumber ong>ofong> non-nationals become displaced. SAHRC has found that the few Governmentrepresentatives in the refugee camps tend to prefer police action rather than conflictresolution to deal with problems. SAHRC has recommended closure ong>ofong> the camps ong>andong>voluntary integration ong>ofong> refugees into society on a more stable basis. The organizationhas also urged the government to place a six month moratorium on all arrests ong>andong>deportations ong>ofong> undocumented migrants; however, the Government refused to honorthis request.It will take a long time for the South African view ong>ofong> foreigners to become one ong>ofong>curiosity ong>andong> acceptance rather than fear ong>andong> exclusion. But it can be done through civileducation, leadership ong>andong> dialogue. As evidenced by the seminar held on World RefugeeDay, the tragic violence has at least encouraged the dialogue to begin.69 Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs ong>andong> Foreign Affairs ong>andong> South African ong>Migrationong>Project, Parliamentary Seminar ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>andong> Xenophobia, South African Parliament,Cape Town, 20, June 2008.35


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008RecommendationsA positive thought in the area ong>ofong> refugee law is that South Africa seemswilling to incorporate international conventions on refugees into its domesticpolicy. One ong>ofong> the main concerns for improving the immigration system ong>andong>avoiding similar outbreaks ong>ofong> violence in the future is that the effects ong>ofong> refugeelegislation “have not cascaded down to the grassroots level where refugees share alivelihood with South Africans.” 70 Immigration reform ong>andong> correct implementationong>ofong> new policies must be done amid a public in dire need ong>ofong> civil education. Thischange within the community—within individual mindsets—is the true test ong>ofong> anemergent nation.The first step in the process ong>ofong> creating a more tolerant nation is reformingthe legal framework around which the refugee system operates. The DHA needs tocontinue to improve its administrative procedures to make them more efficient.The Refugees Amendment Bill, pending approval by the NCOP, is a good start tostreamlining the application ong>andong> appeals process. Administrative improvements arevitally linked to the decrease in the xenophobic culture in South Africa. If refugeesare less vulnerable to misconceptions in the minds ong>ofong> local citizens ong>andong> police, thenthere will be more room for understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> what displaced people have enduredong>andong> their reasons for being in the country. It will become more apparent thatrefugees ong>andong> those still enduring the slow ong>andong> stressful process ong>ofong> applying forrefugee status are as anxious to contribute to South African society as SouthAfricans are.Secondly, there should be more dialogue among the internationalcommunity to consider giving protection to economic refugees. As in the case withZimbabwe, there are thousong>andong>s ong>ofong> people that have not necessarily beenpersecuted by their government but are, nonetheless, fighting to survive due to theeconomic plight caused by the political bloodshed following the 29 March 2008presidential election. Because the situation in Zimbabwe has not been deemed apolitical crisis, ong>andong> due to the lack ong>ofong> protection for economic migrants, SouthAfrica has deported approximately 17,000 Zimbabweans back across the border inthe past few months without violating their international duty ong>ofong> nonrefoulement—aduty on States not to return a person to a country where they willmore likely than not be persecuted. 7170 Legal Resources Foundation, A Reference Guide to Refugee Law ong>andong> Issues in SouthernAfrica (Zambia: Legal Resources Foundation, 2002).71 Justine Gerardy, SA Defies UN on Refugees,” Cape Argus, 12 July 2008.36


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The UN Refugee Convention provides only a “basic minimum stong>andong>ard” ong>ofong>refugee protection, which means member States are at liberty to provide furtherprotection to asylum seekers than is found in the Convention definition. 72 SouthAfrica could possibly protect Zimbabweans under section 3(b) ong>ofong> the Refugees Act,if it interpreted the actions following the presidential elections as “events seriouslydisturbing or disrupting public order” in Zimbabwe. 73 Alternatively, Human RightsWatch (“HRW”) has recently urged South Africa to mong>andong>ate a temporaryimmigration exemption status for all Zimbabweans, as a way ong>ofong> allowing entry,regularizing status, ending deportations, ong>andong> granting the right to work to allZimbabweans by bypassing the asylum process. 74 This temporary automatic grantong>ofong> exemption to Zimbabwean immigrants could help ease the immediate tension inthe region. But for a more stable future ong>ofong> migration concerning refugees, theaddition ong>ofong> economic struggle to the list ong>ofong> legitimate grounds for refugee statusshould be seriously considered. This amendment to international stong>andong>ards wouldbe consistent with the true purpose ong>ofong> protecting refugees rather than creatingdefinitional exclusions.Thirdly, civil education in the communities ong>andong> townships will help to dispelfear ong>andong> promote trust. Certainly, South Africans can learn to make the distinctionbetween illegal immigrants ong>andong> refugees. This will be especially clear oncegovernmental departments do their part to confirm refugees’ status through moreefficient paperwork procedures. There also needs to be more cooperation betweenthe Government ong>andong> community leaders so civilians do not feel they have to takethe law into their own hong>andong>s. South African people should not see immigration interms ong>ofong> population numbers or statistics on race, religion, tribe or country ong>ofong>origin. These numbers are dangerous if viewed without the accompanyingeducation to explain what they mean. Instead, immigration should be presented tothe South African people in terms ong>ofong> the benefits that immigrants ong>andong> refugees areable to provide to their new community. Educating people in the townships ong>andong>communities about the advantages ong>ofong> immigration will start to slowly dim theangry light in which immigration is viewed.South Africa has the most stable economy in Africa ong>andong> one ong>ofong> the mostliberal Constitutions in the world with respect to human rights. Valuing the skillsthat refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers bring to the country ong>andong> allowing them to72 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status ong>ofong> Refugees.73 South African Refugees Act, sec. 3(b).74 Human Rights Watch, Neighbors in Need: Zimbabweans Seeking Refuge in South Africa(New York: Human Rights Watch, 2008), 117-18.37


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008rightfully seek employment ong>andong> studies without encountering a violent barrier willimprove the economic infrastructure for all South Africans. The process ong>ofong> teachingtolerance will be slow ong>andong> not every mind will be changed, but education is the keyto unlocking the ignorance that creates the fear.Fourthly, refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers need to be well informed ong>ofong> theasylum process so they will not engage in bribes ong>andong> unknowingly help fostercorrupt practices. If immigrants know what constitutes illegal activity they canchoose not to engage in it. This refusal to submit to the prevalent environment ong>ofong>corruption will decrease the demong>andong> for bribes ong>andong> it will save an asylum seekerfrom having his or her refugee status not granted or later revoked due tounintentional participation in illegal activity. A suggestion made by HRW is to postsigns in Refugee Reception Offices in many different home languages ong>ofong> refugees sothat they will be more informed as to what the application process entails. 75For refugees’ part, they have the responsibility to become aware ong>ofong>their obligations as refugees ong>andong> to respect the laws ong>ofong> South Africa, including notengaging in bribes in the asylum process. They must also make their best attemptto gain the trust ong>ofong> their new communities ong>andong> to keep confidence in the SouthAfrican Government ong>andong> volunteer organizations that are striving to improve theirsituation. SAHRC conducts sessions at various camp sites to inform refugees ong>ofong>their rights as foreign non-nationals. In these meetings, refugees are encouraged totrust the Government as much as possible in order to have cong>andong>id dialogue withong>ofong>ficials who inquire about their circumstances ong>andong> needs.Fifthly, a certain amount ong>ofong> discipline must be injected into theGovernment at all levels. Police ong>ofong>ficers must be better trained to recognize asylumseeker permits ong>andong> refugee status papers so they will not wrongly arrest or detainrefugees. Officers also need to be punished for any bribes or other illegal acts theysolicit. The DHA‘s Turnaround Strategy, in conjunction with the NationalIntelligence Agency, is aimed at educating DHA ong>ofong>ficials ong>andong> dealing with thosecaught initiating or accepting bribes. 76For the upper tier ong>ofong> Government, including the President, Parliament ong>andong>elected ong>ofong>ficials, it is their responsibility to make South Africa want to be a country75 Human Rights Watch, Living on the Margins: Inadequate protection for refugees ong>andong>asylum seekers in Johannesburg (New York: Human Rights Watch, November 2005), Vol. 17,No. 15(A).76 Ibid.38


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008that treats its foreigners well, whether or not those immigrants will ever berepatriated to their countries ong>ofong> origin. The Government cannot be acquiescent inthe inefficient process ong>ofong> filing asylum applications simply because they do notwant to deal with the refugees once they become a responsibility ong>ofong> the State.Government must set the example in being inclusive to those in need ong>ofong> protection.The South African Constitution is too welcoming to humanity for the Governmentnot to respect the rights guaranteed to everyone within South Africa ong>andong> it isGovernment’s duty to enforce these rights.Lastly, there needs to be a gradual ong>andong> overall shift in South Africa’sisolated ong>andong> exclusive culture. To accomplish this, there needs to be a move awayfrom apartheid once ong>andong> for all. There has been much discussion linking apartheidto the recent violence. But we must find another reason. In this respect, formerSouth African President, Frederick Willem De Klerk argued that the heritage ong>ofong>apartheid was not to blame for the "unacceptable" xenophobic attacks, but ratherhigh unemployment amongst black South Africans ong>andong> crime. 77 Post-apartheidsocioeconomic struggles may help explain the closed society that foreignersencounter in South Africa, but they are no justification for the violence. Theadvantage for South Africa in dealing with these issues is that the Government is nolonger based on racial divisions. Author Alan Morris explains that the apartheidGovernment was a form ong>ofong> “total racism,” whereas the current Governmentexhibits only “political racism,” in which race ong>andong> ethnicity become central issuesbut are not a piece ong>ofong> conscious policy. 78Similar to the post-Civil Rights era in the United States, the social fabric inSouth Africa is not perfect. It has only been fourteen years since the end ong>ofong>apartheid ong>andong> it will take time for the ultimate benefits ong>ofong> a desegregated societyto become realized. South Africans need to take advantage ong>ofong> their democraticGovernment ong>andong> start seeing the end ong>ofong> apartheid as giving them equalopportunity, even if the price ong>ofong> that equality is integration ong>ofong> different races ong>andong>nationalities. If South Africans connect their every breath somehow to apartheid orthe ending ong>ofong> that era then they will live in it forever.As evidenced by a passionate debate during a panel discussion at theUniversity ong>ofong> Cape Town on 3 June 2008, it is clear that part ong>ofong> letting go ong>ofong>lingering apartheid tensions will be for South Africans to agree on whether allapologies ong>andong> other reparations have been fully paid to neighboring African77 “Apartheid 'not root ong>ofong> SA riots’,” BBC, 30 May 2008.78 Alan Morris ong>andong> Antoine Bouillon, eds., African Immigration to South Africa:Francophone migration ong>ofong> the 1990s, (Pretoria: Protea Book House, 2001), 87.39


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008countries for the help in ending segregation or whether there is evencompensation owed at all. 79 When the Government ong>andong> academic ong>andong> communityleaders can decide where the past ends they will be able to move forward. Treatingrefugees with compassion will show the world that South Africa can be anembracing country with the ability to move beyond its tragic ong>andong> discriminatorypast.ConclusionAlthough it is understong>andong>able to ask someone what country they camefrom, refugees feel dejected when they are constantly questioned about when theyare “going back.” The idea ong>ofong> full integration within South African society can putboth foreigners ong>andong> locals on edge. Asylum seekers who cannot obtain protectionor those who obtain refugee status but are still turned away by employers may beforced to resort to criminal acts, strengthening the stereotype that all immigrantsare linked to an increase in crime rates. But a true understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> the refugeestory is still missing. And the connections that can be weaved together in thesystem ong>ofong> government ong>andong> civil society cooperation have not been fully seized.Asylum seekers ong>andong> refugees do not migrate by choice ong>andong> are not motivated by adesire to steal jobs ong>andong> engage in drugs ong>andong> crime. They come to South Africa tong>ofong>ind safety ong>andong> peace, at least temporarily.With strong leadership, administrative ong>andong> legal reforms, South Africa canbecome the democratic haven ong>ofong> safety that has captured the dreams ong>andong> hopes ong>ofong>so many. This vision ong>ofong> erasing xenophobia in the country will take a long time toaccomplish. It may take even longer for the Government to commit itself to endingcorruption or for the international community to strengthen refugee law to adaptto current humanitarian crises. But if South Africa can promote a culture ong>ofong> civileducation, with the support ong>ofong> Government ong>andong> humanitarian organization, thecountry will eventually find its way through the fear. In a South Africa that moreclosely resembles its reputation as a long>andong> ong>ofong> hope ong>andong> democracy, citizens will nothave to be angry towards foreigners ong>andong> refugees from neighboring Africancountries will be able to find their long-awaited tolerance.79 Institute ong>ofong> Justice ong>andong> Reconciliation, panel discussion, “Xenophobia – Why now, whereto next?” University ong>ofong> Cape Town, 3 June 2008.40


A Study ong>ofong> Xenophobia in South Africa’s Refugee SystemJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008REFERENCES“Apartheid 'not root ong>ofong> SA riots’,” BBC, 30 May 2008.Beyers Cronje, Liong>andong>a. “Death threats to foreigners,” Hermanus Times, 6 June 2008.Brown, Susan. “Money ong>andong> Morality: Transformation Audit,” Institute for Justice ong>andong>Reconciliation(2006): xii.Constitution ong>ofong> the Republic ong>ofong> South Africa (1996).Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs briefing to Select Committee on Social Services, RefugeesAmendment Bill, South African Parliament, Cape Town, 17 June 2008.Draft Refugee White Paper submitted by the White Paper for Refugee Affairs Task Team: Gazette18988, Notice 1122), vol. 396, Pretoria, 19 j:[19 June 1998].Fritz, Bertie. Interview by author, Cape Town, 12 June 2008.Gerardy, Justine. “SA Defies UN on Refugees,” Cape Argus, 12 July 2008.Gunn, Shirley ong>andong> Mary-Magdelene Tal, eds. Torn Apart: Thirteen refugees tell their stories. CapeTown: Human Rights Media ong>Centreong>, 2003.Human Rights Watch. Living on the Margins: Inadequate protection for refugees ong>andong> asylumseekers in Johannesburg. New York: Human Rights Watch, November 2005.Human Rights Watch, Neighbors in Need: Zimbabweans Seeking Refuge in South Africa. New York:Human Rights Watch, 2008.Institute ong>ofong> Justice ong>andong> Reconciliation, panel discussion, “Xenophobia – Why now, where to next?”University ong>ofong> Cape Town, 3 June 2008.Jere, Dickson. “Zim exiles face new fear ong>andong> loathing in SA,” AFP: Johannesburg, 14 May 2008.Kamaldien, Yazeed. “Immigration ong>andong> locals begin mediation,” Southern Mail, 28 May 2008.Khumalo, Fred. “Rooms to Let in Hostel Blame,” The Sunday Times, 8 June 2008.Lawyers for Human Rights. Refugee Information Guide ong>andong> Directory ong>ofong> Services. South Africa:Lawyers for Human Rights.Legal Resources Foundation. A Reference Guide to Refugee Law ong>andong> Issues in Southern Africa.Zambia: Legal Resources Foundation, 2002.“Locals Killed in S Africa Attacks,” BBC, 12 June 2008. Available athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7450799.stm.Long Night's Journey into Day - South Africa's Search for Truth ong>andong> Reconciliation, dir. DeborahHong>ofong>fman ong>andong> Frances Reid, 94 min., Reid-Hong>ofong>fman Productions, 2000, videocassette.Majodina, Zonke. “The immigration bill from a human rights perspective,” 72.Mbachu, Dulue. “Xenophobic attacks mar Mbeki’s legacy,” ISN Security Watch, 10 June 2008.Mbeki, Thebo. Africa Day speech, South African Parliament, 25 May 2008.Merriam-Webster, 11thed., s.v. “Xenophobia.”Morris, Alan ong>andong> Antoine Bouillon, eds. African Immigration to South Africa: Francophonemigration ong>ofong> the 1990s. Pretoria: Protea Book House, 2001.Nullis, Clare. “Cape Town to fight court order to move the displaced,” Miami Herald, 10 June 2008.Refugees Amendment Bill (B 11B-2008). Database online. Available athttp://www.pmg.org.za/bill/20080604-refugees-amendment-bill-b11a-2008 (accessed 7July 2008).Organization ong>ofong> African Unity Refugee Convention Governing the Specific Aspects ong>ofong> RefugeeProblems in Africa (1969).41


Janet McKnightJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs ong>andong> Foreign Affairs ong>andong> South African ong>Migrationong> Project,Parliamentary Seminar ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>andong> Xenophobia, South African Parliament, CapeTown, 20, June 2008.Sapa, “21 SA citizens died in xenophobic violence: GOVT,” The Citizen, 12 June 2008. Available athttp://www.citizen.co.za/index/article.aspx?pDesc=68216,1,22.Seminar on ong>Migrationong> ong>andong> Xenophobia to Acknowledge World Refugee Day, South AfricanParliament, Cape Town, 20 June 2008.Sloth-Nielsen, Julia. interview by author, Bellville, South Africa, 5 June 2008.South Africa Department ong>ofong> Home Affairs, Refugee Backlog Project. Database online. Available at:http://www.home-affairs.gov.za/refugee_project.asp.South African Immigration Act (2002).South African Immigration Bill, Government Gazette No. 22439, 29 June 2001.Southern African ong>Migrationong> Project, ong>Migrationong> Policy Brief No. 7, sec. 4.7.South African Refugees Act (1998).United Nations Convention Relating to the Status ong>ofong> Refugees (1951).United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2007 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum-seekers,Returnees, Internally Displaced ong>andong> Stateless Persons. Geneva: UNHCR, June 2008.United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Global Appeal. Geneva: UNHCR, 2008-2009.United Nations, Office ong>ofong> the Resident Coordinator South Africa, “Violence Against Foreigners inSouth Africa,” Situation Report 3, 3 June 2008.Warby, Vivian. “Home Affairs speeds up services,” SouthAfrica.info, 11 June 2008.42


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008Missed Opportunity: The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrantsin the British EconomyDieu Donné HACK-POLAYAbstract. This paper looks at the work experiences ong>ofong> forced migrants in the country ong>ofong>origin ong>andong> the host country. The article builds on interviews with forced migrants fromthree nationalities, Congo (DRC), Kosovo ong>andong> Somalia to contrast their experience ong>ofong> workin the labour market in the United Kingdom. The research found that the place the migrantsoccupy in the host labour market is not ong>ofong>ten commensurate with their qualifications ong>andong>prong>ofong>essional baggage from the country ong>ofong> origin. The forced migrants ong>ofong>ten long>andong>ed inmenial, unskilled or semi-skilled jobs. Ethnicity or racial origin had little impact on thedegree ong>ofong> success in the host labour market. However the article concludes that theprong>ofong>essional demise ong>ofong> the forced migrants is not only a loss to them but the host economymight be missing out on valuable human resources, given the high skills that the migrantsharbour.Keywords: forced migrants, refugee, host country, labour market, employment, economy,cultureIntroduction ong>andong> backgroundThe debate surrounding forced migrants has been high on the Britishpolitical, economic ong>andong> social agenda in the past two decades. With the influx ong>ofong>thousong>andong>s ong>ofong> people fleeing upheavals, questions have arisen ong>andong> fed the debateabout the capacity ong>ofong> the host countries to absorb them ong>andong> the impact ong>ofong> suchinflux on the British economy. Many, particularly in the media ong>andong> political milieus,have argued the detrimental effect on the economy ong>andong> race relations. Some havesuggested that refugees are a cost to the host nations labelling their contribution asminiscule which causes the migrants to be a burden. However, as researchincreases in this area, other authors have come to question the validity ong>ofong> thesearguments (Block, 2002; Hack-Polay, 2000, 2006; Refugee Council, 2002).43


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008From the perspective ong>ofong> forced migrants, the world ong>ofong> work in the hostcountry can be a tough jungle, ong>ofong>ten difficult to penetrate, to move through it ong>andong>to survive it. Anthias & Yuval-Davis (1995:13) argue that the “structuraldisadvantage ong>ofong> groups” in the labour market could be explained by several factorsincluding, class, race, gender, education ong>andong> training as well as the length ong>ofong> stay inBritain. All these factors are particularly important in connection with the study ong>ofong>refugees’ ong>andong> migrants’ place in the labour market. Anthias & Yuval-Davis (1995)for instance argue that refugees ong>andong> people from the colonies ong>andong> the NewCommonwealth have been predominantly used as cheap labour in Britain ong>andong>Western Europe. Essentially, their position in the West is that they do not meet thecriteria for being part ong>ofong> the national collectivity. The use ong>ofong> Africans ong>andong> peoplefrom the former colonies in an inferior capacity in European labour markets hasbeen sustained for many decades.Castles & Kosack (1973), Phizacklea & Miles (1980), Miles (1984, 1989),Banton (1987), Gilroy (1987) have widely investigated the plight ong>ofong> immigrants(voluntary migrants) ong>andong> refugees (forced migrants) in Europe in the past threedecades. Within the perspective ong>ofong> economic exploitation ong>ofong> immigrants undercapitalism, Castles & Kosack (1973:5) have provided an explanation ong>ofong> the massiveuse ong>ofong> migrant labour. They assert that migrants are used as cheap labour in orderto "keep wages down ong>andong> prong>ofong>its up". The position is part ong>ofong> the overall view thatimmigrants, probably more significantly black ong>andong> forced migrants, are perceived asinferior ong>andong> treated consequently with some slavery ong>andong> colonial stigmas.However, voicing that immigrants are 'enslaved' ong>andong> exploited in twenty-firstcentury Britain may contrast with current policy ensuring a minimum wage to allworkers. The minimum wage regulation was hailed as a breakthrough to equality inthe British labour market. However, recent statistics from the Commission forRacial Equality (CRE) show that the average wage ong>ofong> minority workers is still lowerthan that ong>ofong> their white counterparts ong>andong> the level ong>ofong> unemployment amongminorities is much higher. The CRE (2006) highlights that in 2002, theunemployment rate for ethnic minorities was double that ong>ofong> their whitecounterparts (respectively 8 ong>andong> 4 per cent). Lin (1986) ong>andong> Anthias & Yuval-Davis(1995:82) argue that “minorities have suffered most from the growth ong>ofong>unemployment” in the past few decades in the UK. This disadvantage experiencedby minorities may be further exacerbated when the minorities are refugees.44


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Given the employment opportunities ong>ofong> the last two decades in manydeveloped countries ong>andong> notably in the UK, it is interesting ong>andong> surprising to notethat the literature is consistent in acknowledging a certain disadvantage faced byforced migrants in the host country’s labour market (Block, 2002; British RefugeeCouncil, 2002; Anthias & Yuval-Davis, 1995, etc.) Some ong>ofong> the factors traditionallyassociated with such disadvantage include racism (Block, 2002; Castles & Kosack,1973), perceived ‘irrelevance’ ong>ofong> previous qualifications (Hack-Polay, 2000; HomeOffice, 1995; Marshall, 1992; Clark, 1992), language (Block, 2002; Home ong>ofong>fice,1995), cultural barriers, lack ong>ofong> information about opportunities, gender (Delphy &Leonard, 1992). The labour market is not the sole social area where immigrants,refugees ong>andong> minorities are seriously disadvantaged. Similar inequalities are seen ineducation where ethnic minority pupils ong>andong> students face more exclusion ong>andong>underachievement in schools. Other fields include welfare ong>andong> housing ong>andong> theoverall social mobility within the wider society. A look at social mobility ong>andong>housing is likely to greatly inform the debate on racism as affecting immigrants,refugees ong>andong> minorities in Britain. However, the analysis ong>ofong> these fields requiresspecific researches which are outside the scope ong>ofong> the present work.This paper is placed within the wider perspective ong>ofong> labour market studies;it argues that refugees can make a substantial contribution to the host economyong>andong> society. The research has found evidence that forced migrants harbour awealth ong>ofong> knowledge ong>andong> skills which benefit the national economy. The research’smain contributions lie at two levels: first it has formulated a typology ong>ofong> forcedmigrant job search strategies which have not ong>ofong>ten attracted much literature;second, the research has looked in-depth into some ong>ofong> the critical issues affectingforced migrants’ entry ong>andong> participation into the labour market. The paperconcludes that forced migrants are human resources that are ong>ofong>ten under-utilised.They could be a source ong>ofong> global competitive advantage for the host country ong>andong>business organisations if the migrants’ skills are adequately audited ong>andong> areasonable level ong>ofong> cultural support is made available.After a discussion ong>ofong> the methodology ong>andong> related issues, the paperpresents ong>andong> analyses the findings in relation to the following: work in the countryong>ofong> origin, employment in the host country, routes to entering employment ong>andong>factors affecting employment in exile.45


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008MethodologyThe aim ong>ofong> the research is to examine the match or mismatch ong>ofong> therefugees’ past learning ong>andong> prong>ofong>essional experiences in the country ong>ofong> origin ong>andong>those in the host country. A qualitative methodology was used with in-depthinterviews with 30 forced migrants from Congo (DRC), Kosovo ong>andong> Somalia. Theinterviews explored such critical issues as academic ong>andong> prong>ofong>essional qualificationsobtained in native country, the work experience prior to fleeing, search for workong>andong> employment status in the host country ong>andong> types ong>ofong> work ong>andong> obstacles toentry to the host labour market. The chosen fields were the the London boroughsong>ofong> Croydon, Greenwich ong>andong> Lewisham. The choice ong>ofong> location was due toavailability ong>andong> concentration ong>ofong> the target nationalities in the areas identified. Thechoice ong>ofong> the three nationalities was motivated by the interest in contrasting threepossibly different perspectives regarding economic ong>andong> social life in exile in view toestablish whether factors such as race ong>andong> country ong>ofong> origin have an importantimpact on socio-economic promotion in the new country.The final number ong>ofong> participants was arrived at through a snowballsampling effect. This meant that a small number ong>ofong> participants were contactedthrough local forced migrant community organisations ong>andong> they, in turn, led theresearcher to other refugees who were likely to meet the selection criteria. As theinitial respondents led the researcher to others, the difficulties in trying to findsuitable participants ong>andong> to arrange interview time ong>andong> location were minimised.In-depth interviews allowed participants freedom to provide detailed accounts ong>ofong>their stories ong>andong> expong>andong> on particular aspects. The approach was interesting forstudying the experiences ong>ofong> forced migrants, whose story is many-folds, e.g.endurance ong>ofong> inhumane circumstances relating to torture, imprisonment in thenative country ong>andong> integration issues in the host country, etc. The interviewattempted to capture the essence ong>ofong> their life history, particularly in relation totheir re-entering employment ong>andong> economic life in Britain. The non-homogeneity ong>ofong>the sample from a racial point ong>ofong> view has been deliberate in order to compare ong>andong>contrast the experiences ong>ofong> refugees from different ethnic backgrounds, theKosovans (Europeans) ong>andong> the Somalis ong>andong> Congolese (Africans). The analysisconsiders the forced migrants’ work experiences in the host ong>andong> native countriesong>andong> assesses the extent to which forced migrants are given or not the opportunity46


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008to contribute prong>ofong>essionally, how they enter the labour market in the UK, ong>andong> howthe new society responds to their aspirations.FINDING AND ANALYSISWork in country ong>ofong> originThe majority ong>ofong> the respondents have experienced in the UK what Lin(1986) described as “status inconsistency”. Only two ong>ofong> the refugees now occupyjobs that are higher than what they did in the country ong>ofong> origin. It is thereforeunderstong>andong>able why the vast majority felt a sense ong>ofong> lower status ong>andong> loss in exile.Table 1 shows the types ong>ofong> jobs the refugees once held before becoming exiles.Table 1 Job category ong>ofong> the refugees in the native countryType ong>ofong> jobs Nationalities TotalCongolese Kosovans SomalisManagerial 2 1 1 4Teaching 2 2 1 5Clerical/administrative 5 3 3 11Students 1 1 3 5Unemployed 0 3 2 5Table 1 indicates that nearly 67 per cent ong>ofong> the refugees were inemployment in their country ong>ofong> origin, with 30 per cent being in jobs regarded ashigh status in those countries, e.g. managerial, teaching ong>andong> to some extentadministrative. Most ong>ofong> the respondents came from an urban background, whichcould explain the relatively high employment rate; in less developed countries mostjobs are concentrated in urban areas. However, this trend is reversed in the UKwhere 63 per cent were in employment but with only 10 per cent in jobs similar tothose held in the native country.In the absence ong>ofong> reliable literature on employment mobility in thecountries ong>ofong> the refugees studied in this research, our findings can not attempt anyform ong>ofong> generalisation ong>andong> will therefore apply to the sample. To establish someforms ong>ofong> generalisation further studies needs to be undertaken in the countriesconcerned but this is out ong>ofong> the reach ong>ofong> the present research given the time ong>andong>financial constraints. The present analysis is, thus, typically a case study ong>ofong> thenationalities involved although some loose reference is made to some general47


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008employment data in the three countries, Congo, Kosovo ong>andong> Somalia. Majid(2005:7), in an International Labour Organisation (ILO) paper, acknowledges thatthough some broad data may be available in the context ong>ofong> employment indeveloping countries “much ong>ofong> this information is partial ong>andong> incomplete, ong>andong>constitutes an unbalanced panel ong>ofong> data”.Employment mobility in the country ong>ofong> origin does not appear to have beencommon. More ong>ofong>ten the refugees had stayed in one type ong>ofong> occupation sincegraduating or leaving school. In the interviews, the respondents did not mentionthat they had done a catalogue ong>ofong> jobs, but usually only one type ong>ofong> job during theirlife back in the country they originated from. “I was a government civil servant”, aSomali refugee said; “I was a teacher”, a Kosovan refugee proudly pointed out ong>andong>a Congolese said he was a labourer. Given the economic difficulties in the threecountries, it is difficult to imagine that there were a multitude ong>ofong> jobs for grab inthe labour market. The assumption that the refugees may have only worked in theprong>ofong>ession or trade mentioned by them could therefore be highly probable. In fact,Majid (2005:10) further argues, in relation to employment mobility that “theprocess ong>ofong> labour transfer does not show up in economy wide patterns inemployment types”.The economic climate in Somalia is one ong>ofong> chaos where having a job at all,however low status it may be, is considered to be a privilege that the majority ong>ofong>citizens cannot afford. CIA (2006) points out that “Somalia's economic fortunes aredriven by its deep political divisions” ong>andong> much ong>ofong> the surviving parts ong>ofong> thecountry’s economy lies mainly in agriculture. In Congo, the war in the past tenyears or more has hindered the already deeply fragile ong>andong> declining economy.Copson (2001), in the case ong>ofong> Congo, argues that “long troubled by economicdecline ong>andong> political stagnation, seemed to be entering a new era” ong>ofong> furtherdecline when in 1997 troops ong>ofong> the Alliance ong>ofong> Democratic Forces for the Liberationong>ofong> Congo-Zaire (AFDL) took over the political power. With many schools closed as aresult ong>ofong> the war, one ong>ofong> the major prong>ofong>essions in the country seemed to be in greatdecline leaving an incalculable number ong>ofong> people out ong>ofong> work ong>andong> hope. Both localgovernment ong>andong> private sector employments are suffering decline because ong>ofong> theassault by rebel ong>andong> government forces ong>andong> the withdrawal ong>ofong> many foreigncompanies.48Henriette, a former Congolese secondary school teacher, reported:I’ve been a secondary school teacher since graduating. But I didn’t have a job twomonths prior to fleeing because my secondary school’s been burnt down. I hoped


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008my state ong>ofong> unemployment wouldn’t be durable but that was protracted becauseong>ofong> the fierce fighting ong>andong> political upheaval at the time.In Kosovo, the situation could not be much different. Being part ong>ofong> asegregated community, the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, this part ong>ofong> the formerYugoslavia, found it extremely hard to get into employment, particularly ingovernment ong>andong> local government where institutions were dominated by theSerbs. The economic climate itself did not help the Albanian cause; withunemployment nearing 40 per cent, the Serbs were given priority as asserted byRobert who helped at his parents’ farm since he left high school with his A levelthree years prior to fleeing the deadly conflict. Robert pointed out that:I enjoyed working at the farm in the end. I was with my family ong>andong> that wasenjoyable. In Kosovo, it’s not easy to get a job, especially when you live in a smalltown. If you go to Pristina, it is also very hard because there are many peoplelooking for a job there. If you don’t know anybody you can’t do anything. As Icouldn’t go to university, I worked at the farm after leaving college.In total, the economic situation ong>andong> the disorderly social ong>andong> politicalscenes lead to the assumption that many ong>ofong> the refugees had remained for sometime in the occupation they quoted to the researcher. An overwhelming majorityhad never changed jobs or move horizontally or vertically within the sameoccupation. They could however be credited with long years ong>ofong> experience in theprong>ofong>essional area they embraced.Typology ong>ofong> routes into employment in the UKIn our sample the entry to employment ong>ofong> refugees in the UK was diverse.While some were introduced to their first job by friends ong>andong> other acquaintances,others went to employment through training ong>andong> only a hong>andong>ful accessed their firstjob following ordinary job search exercises on their own, such as completingapplication forms ong>andong> attending interviews. This section examines this variety ong>ofong>routes into employment taken by the refugees interviewed.Models ong>ofong> methods used by refugees to find jobs are not well documentedin academic literature. However, empirical studies including findings by thePeabody Trust (1999) point to a culture ong>ofong> job introduction by friends ong>andong> relatives.If refugees are to be seen as a racialised group as Anthias & Yuval-Davis (1995)have argued, then a Dual Labour Market theory would be a consistent framework49


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008for understong>andong>ing refugees’ place in the British labour market. In fact, from theperspective ong>ofong> Dual Labour Market theory, male white workers have priority in theprimary labour market which “is characterised by stability, strong trade unionrepresentation, higher wages ong>andong> good working condition” (Anthias & Yuval-Davis,1995:72); but the secondary labour market will recruit essentially female ong>andong> blackworkers; here employment conditions are the opposite ong>ofong> what is available tothose in the primary labour market. Marxists such as Edwards (1975) have arguedthat employers “consciously exploit race” to arrive at a desired degree ong>ofong> workforcecontrol. Whatever the argument is, it is widely accepted in the literature that thereis a high degree ong>ofong> differentiation in employment ong>andong> this is to a large extentfounded on race ong>andong> gender. From this perspective, forced migrants will struggle toenter the job markets ong>andong> to move up. The following sections highlight how therespondents entered the employment market in exile ong>andong> the place that theyoccupied at the time ong>ofong> the interviews.Entry through networks ong>ofong> acquaintancesIn all three communities researched, participants had a friend or a relativewho informed them ong>ofong> a possible opening in their place ong>ofong> work. Eleven ong>ofong> thenineteen participants who declared an occupation found their first job using the‘friends’ route. Finding jobs this way confirms the crucial importance ong>ofong> networksas they can be essential for the integration process but as Robinson (1993) foundnetworks could also be crucial for finding employment opportunities ong>andong> Bloch(2002) describes finding employment through contacts ong>andong> friends as one ong>ofong> thekey job search techniques employed by the refugees she studied in the LondonBorough ong>ofong> Newham. The respondents in the present research have had similarexperiences ong>andong> Abdul, a Somali refugee reported thatMy friend told me to come with him one day to see his supervisor. The friend saidthat they always needed people ong>andong> if they (the employer) liked me they mighttake me on. I went with my friend one afternoon. The supervisor asked me if I wasinterested in clearing some boxes for two hours. I worked really fast to please him.At the end ong>ofong> the task he ong>ofong>fered me to come back the next day. That’s how Istarted.Abdul’s experience was not isolated. Other refugees reported getting theirfirst appointment via such a route. However, it is clear that the sort ong>ofong> employment50


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008in which the respondents long>andong>ed was ong>ofong>ten unskilled ong>andong> manual such as cleaning,packing, factory ong>andong> catering work. Paul, a Kosovan refugee pointed out thatIt was easy to get a job on a building site because they were always short ong>ofong> staffas many people left ong>ofong>ten without notice. Once, I thought I’d kill the boredom bygoing with my cousin to see what he does at work. My cousin’s boss asked if I waslooking for work. My cousin answered yes ong>andong> I was ong>ofong>fered to start on the spot.The job was hard; I thought I’d not finish the day. But the next morning I got myselftogether ong>andong> went back.From the experience ong>ofong> the participants, it may appear as though unskilledong>andong> manual employment attracts predominantly refugees ong>andong> minorities. Otherstudies go in the same sense ong>andong> provide some hints that help to understong>andong> theissues. Anthias & Yuval-Davis’s (1995) perspective is that refugees are racialisedong>andong> therefore face exclusion from full participation in British society. Castles et al.(1984) ong>andong> Solomos & Back (1996) have similar opinion; they reveal that minoritiesong>ofong>ten remain in the manual manufacturing sector where they are representedprincipally in shift work in factories, textile ong>andong> foundries. For refugees long>andong>ing inthe unskilled or semi-skilled sector was partly due to the low level language abilitiesin the first years ong>ofong> exile. Many ong>ofong> these jobs require minimum language abilities, ifany. Marshall (1992:18) suggests that language was one ong>ofong> the most serious barriers torefugee employment. In the case ong>ofong> the refugee participants, there was evidence ong>ofong> alink between language ong>andong> the type ong>ofong> initial employment obtained in exile.The training routeA number ong>ofong> refugees accessed their first job in exile by taking up trainingwhich had a work experience element. Six or 32 per cent ong>ofong> the nineteen employedrespondents used the ‘training route’ to access employment for the first time inexile. In general, the respondents accessed training after obtaining informationfrom the refugee assisting organisation that they frequented, e.g. the RefugeeCouncil, local community organisations, etc. While the majority found out abouttraining ong>andong> education this way, about one quarter received training informationthrough friends who were already attending an institution. The training routeong>ofong>fered the advantage ong>ofong> the refugee being introduced to an employer by a traininginstitution or a college. Such a provider usually works in partnership with a bank ong>ofong>employers who are willing to take trainees. Without such introduction it would be51


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008very difficult for the individual refugee to penetrate the environment ong>ofong> thecompany. As Charlotte, a Congolese refugee explainedI attended an IT training course with a refugee organisation in West London. Theorganisation found me work placement with a small company. My English wasaverage but I was really competent at computers. After my placement, I wasong>ofong>fered to stay for three months ong>andong> they employed me.Hamidi, a Somali refugee had a similar story. He got a work experienceplacement through his college. The employer pledged to take him back after hecompletes his training. Hamidi was ong>ofong>fered a position as a care worker oncompletion ong>ofong> his course. The respondent was very thankful to those who showedso much willingness to assist him when he explained:I thank my friend who took me to Greenwich College. The College was verysupportive in training ong>andong> sending me to this job experience. Now the employer isvery kind because they want to keep me. I think I’m lucky ong>andong> I thank God. If allthese people didn’t help me, I won’t be here.The training route had a triple function. First, it was an opportunity for therefugees to gain or improve their English language abilities. It was also aboutlearning about a specific occupational area ong>andong> furthermore was an opportunity forthe refugee, novice to the UK work environment, to gain valuable experience ong>andong> areference. Often the courses combined English for Speakers ong>ofong> Other Languages(ESOL) with a prong>ofong>essional area, e.g. information technology (IT), health ong>andong> socialcare, bookkeeping, etc. In Charlotte’s case, she studied ESOL with IT while Hamidilearned English with the National Vocational Qualification in health ong>andong> social care.The training route to employment while secure to a certain extent, does notremove the spectre ong>ofong> the unskilled or semi-skilled. The British Refugee Council(1990: 11) has found that in the case ong>ofong> refugee women, for instance, despitetraining ong>andong> qualifications the refugees are confined in temporary, poorly-paidpart-time domestic employment.Individual job search routeIndividual refugees sometimes engaged in job search activities by followingthe route that experience UK job seekers would use. This can be referred to as theconventional route or the expert route ong>andong> three ong>ofong> the employed refugeesexploited this opportunity. This involves the refugee putting themselves forward52


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008for jobs in the employment market like anyone else. For instance, they may call foran application forms, send a curriculum vitae, visit employment agencies. Theindividual route was the preferred route for three refugees, including the two whohad some competence in the language ong>ofong> the host country prior to leaving.However, competence in English language alone was not sufficient to raise theconfidence the participants showed in attempting to “go it alone”. Other factorssuch as advice from welfare ong>andong> employment services ong>andong> tips from friends ong>andong>prong>ofong>essionals were also enabling ong>andong> powerful agents. Such courageous entranceinto the unknown labour market was a privilege affordable only to a fortunate fewlike the Somali who was educated in higher education in the UK ong>andong> another whocompleted some higher education in Somalia ong>andong> had done some significant studyong>ofong> English language in the native country. Abdul describes how he went aboutgetting a job:As soon as got the right to work, I started sending my CVs to different companies.Many ong>ofong> applications I made were not successful. I was rarely called for aninterview. Many CVs I sent were never acknowledged. I wondered what was goingon despite my qualifications ong>andong> experience. It took more than a year to find myfirst job. I was delighted.The different approaches to entering the world ong>ofong> work in exile had varyingdegrees ong>ofong> success. However, the ‘friends’ options ong>andong> the training route appearedto be effective in pushing the refugees into jobs however low status those jobswere. The individual job search or conventional route seemed slower ong>andong> moredisappointing but the refugees who pursued it ong>andong> persevered had more rewardingprong>ofong>essional or skilled employment.Employment in the host countryA Home Office (1995) research into refugee education ong>andong> employmentshowed that over a third ong>ofong> the 263 participants interviewed were universitygraduates ong>andong> had occupied senior prong>ofong>essional positions in the country ong>ofong> origin.Marshall (1995) also found that well over half ong>ofong> the refugees he worked with wereprong>ofong>essionals in their native country ong>andong> only six per cent were unskilled workers.Ordinarily, past high prong>ofong>essional status ong>andong> education ong>andong> training count as assetsin one’s future development but in the case ong>ofong> the refugees studied in the presentresearch these did not seem to have had much impact. However, those who were53


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008unemployed in exile represented 10 per cent, with a further 28 per cent undeclaredoccupations. The comparison shows that fewer ong>ofong> the refugees were inemployment in the UK ong>andong> fewer ong>ofong> those employed had jobs that met theirexpectations.The fortune ong>ofong> refugees in employment in exile varies. Many ong>ofong> theparticipants hoped that they would be able to reconstruct broken lives in the newcountry. Entering employment is part ong>ofong> this reconstruction enterprise. However,the process was not always smooth. Many ong>ofong> the respondents were actively lookingfor work ong>andong> this keenness to find work fits in with liberal perspectives which seework as a source ong>ofong> freedom ong>andong> self-realisation. Blauner (1964) argues that only achange in means ong>ofong> production, including technology, is sufficient to sustain workas a fulfilling activity in industrial societies. This perspective is rejected by Marxistswho believe that work, predominantly in capitalist societies, is alienating becausehuman labour has become a commodity rather than work per se ong>andong> thereforefulfilling ong>andong> freedom broker. However, for the refugees in this research, Blauner’s(1964) view seems to translate their preoccupation: find work to rediscover a senseong>ofong> self-worth ong>andong> re-enter the social arena. In fact, finding employment to occupyoneself as part ong>ofong> the healing process has been another heart breaking venture fora large number ong>ofong> the respondents. This justifies the plurality ong>ofong> strategies used inthe search for work as described earlier. Whether they had trained or not, in alarge number ong>ofong> cases, the refugees long>andong>ed in employment that was much belowtheir qualifications, capabilities ong>andong> aspirations. The metaphor ong>ofong> the world ong>ofong> workresembling a ‘tough jungle’, mentioned at the start ong>ofong> the section, is enlightening inthis respect.The Civis Trust (2002) has catalogued some ong>ofong> the most common jobs thatrefugees find themselves in, e.g. security guards, care support work, cleaning, etc.,if they are fortunate enough to find work at all. Many research studies includingBritish Refugee Council (1990), Citizens Advice Bureau (1993) found evidence thatunemployment among refugees nears 70 per cent. The Civis Trust (2202:28) foundthat many refugee job applicants “have had hundreds ong>ofong> job applications rejectedfor fairly menial jobs”. The respondents in the present research have not escapedthe harshness ong>ofong> the tough British labour market jungle. The majority ong>ofong> therespondents have found work in such areas as described by the Civis Trust ong>andong>have come to persuade themselves that such was their natural fate; the mosteffective route for surmounting unemployment ong>andong> barriers to employment has54


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008been through peer assistance, i.e. ‘friends taking friends to work’ as argued earlier.The tone ong>ofong> resignation has been well expressed particularly through metaphorstranslating an idea ong>ofong> sentence. Metaphors such as “exile is like a prison; exile is likehell; exile is like a downfall, etc.” were formulated by at least one respondent in allthe three communities researched, i.e. Somalis, Congolese ong>andong> Kosovans. Table 2describes some ong>ofong> the jobs respondents were doing at the time ong>ofong> the interviews:Table 2 Employment in the host countryNo. ong>ofong> respondentsOccupation2 Office (managerial or senior ong>ofong>ficer)1 Teaching5 Driving5 Security/ Office (clerical)6 Cleaning/factory3 Unemployed8 Not declaredTable 2 shows that 90 percent ong>ofong> the respondesnts were in low status jobswhich are ong>ofong>ten manual. Mengesha (1995:4) explains that refugees are the mostmarginalised group within the community; they live in poor qualityaccommodation, are unemployed or underemployed, with no proper employmenttraining ong>andong> as a result find themselves in a poor state ong>ofong> health”. There maytherefore be an interconnection between employment, housing ong>andong> health. Theperceived less favourable employment situation ong>ofong> refugees has a number ong>ofong>serious implications which range from social marginalisation to risks topsychological ong>andong> physical health. However, it is not always evident that therefugees themselves are conscious ong>ofong> what others may see as poor housing or poorhealth. A Kosovan refugee who lives with a number ong>ofong> other in the same flat inCroydon sees this as normal ong>andong> reported that:I’m lucky to be living with many other countrymen ong>andong> women (six people in thetwo bedroom-flat) in the same house. We live like a family like back home. Wespend time together ong>andong> help each other in everything. It’s cheaper too.From other perspective, these may be seen as overcrowdedaccommodation. But for these refugees, this is culturally acceptable to live as a55


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008family ong>andong> benefit from the network locally available. The financial advantage ong>ofong> suchpromiscuity is not arguable, given the levels ong>andong> types ong>ofong> jobs that the respondents findthemselves in. From a Marxist perspective (Marx, 1970), these refugees are viewed asa “class in itself” because the members have low class consciousness, or rather lowconsciousness, ong>ofong> the perceived substong>andong>ard nature ong>ofong> their living conditions. They area social entity within which individuals share the same cultural heritage ong>andong> valueswhich become a foundation ong>ofong> life in the host country.Table 2 ong>andong> other studies (e.g. Castles & Kosack, 1973; Clark, 1992; Marshall,1992; Anthias & Yuval-Davis, 1995) show that jobs that migrants take up are not ong>ofong>tencommensurate with their qualifications, experiences ong>andong> status prior to migrating.Many ong>ofong> the refugees had respectably high status jobs in the native country. Teaching,civil service, army ong>andong> private sector managerial positions were some ong>ofong> the mostcommon occupations ong>ofong> the respondents in their countries ong>ofong> origin. However, a smallnumber were in occupations that they did not perceive as employment back home, e.g.farming. Another category were in higher education which was perceived as a highstatus situation in the three countries examined, given that higher education wasalmost synonymous ong>ofong> future high employment. For many this prong>ofong>essional misfortunewas in many respects metaphorically comparable to nostalgia, fall or starting fromscratch.Social realities affecting employment in the host countryThis section examines the socio-cultural factors that shape the employment ong>ofong>forced migrants in the host country. It highlights the significance ong>ofong> factors such aslanguage, racism ong>andong> ideological constructions as well as the complexity ong>ofong> the labourmarket. The research reveals that the combination ong>ofong> these factors tend to shape ordefine the place forced migrants occupy in the host country’s labour market.LanguageThe study has revealed an association between the level ong>ofong> prong>ofong>iciency in thelanguage ong>ofong> the asylum country ong>andong> the refugees’ occupation. Table 3 shows thelanguage prong>ofong>iciency ong>ofong> the respondents. Marshall (1992) has described the languageissue as one ong>ofong> the key barriers to refugee employment. In his research, he found thattwo thirds ong>ofong> the clients he interviewed did not have English as their first language. The56


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008researcher has attempted to classify on the speaking abilities which were establishedbased on the discussions with the participants. The classification is based on a typologydeveloped by the Department for Education & Science (DfES) in the UK.Table 3 Language prong>ofong>iciency ong>ofong> the participantsLang.LevelLevel 2Level 1Entry 3Entry 2Entry 1DfES description(speaking ability)Listen & respond to spoken language, includingextended information ong>andong> narratives. Speak tocommunicate with detailed information.Engage in discussion with 1 or more people in avariety ong>ofong> different situations making clear ong>andong>effective contributionsListen & respond to spoken language, incl.information & narratives ong>andong> followsinstructions ong>ofong> varying length. Speak tocommunicate information, ideas & opinionsadapting speech & content. Engage indiscussion with 1 or more people in familiar &unfamiliar situations making clear/relevantcontributionsListen & respond to spoken language incl.straightforward information ong>andong> narratives.Speak to communicate information, feelings &opinions in familiar topics using appropriateformality. Engage in discussion with 1 or morepeople in familiar situations, making relevantpoints.Listen & respond to spoken language incl.straightforward information & short narratives.Speak to communicate information, feelings&opinions on familiar topics. Engage indiscussion with 1 or more people in familiarsituations.Listen & respond to spoken language incl.simple narratives, statements, questions &single-step instructions. Speak to communicatebasic information, feelings & opinions onfamiliar topics. Engage in discussion withpeople in familiar situations about familiartopics.No.respondentsJob types linkedto language level16 - Prong>ofong>essional (3)- Semi-skilled (5)- Unskilled (2)- Unemployed (2)- Undeclared (4)9 - Semi-skilled (3)- Unskilled (2)- Unemployed (1)- Undeclared (3)3 - Semi-skilled (2)- Undeclared (1)2 - Unskilled (2)0 N/A57


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The choice ong>ofong> first jobs, in particular, is strongly motivated by thelanguage abilities ong>ofong> the refugees. Those with no English or very little competenceusually entered completely the unskilled world ong>ofong> the factory or cleaning whichare all considered to be low status employment. Earlier the case ong>ofong> two Somalirefugees was reported when they explained their reason for long>andong>ing in unskilledwork. The respondents plainly put that they had no choice but take upemployment in the sector because there “you did not need to speak English”.People would just show the respondents what to do, ong>ofong>ten by gestures ong>andong> thetraining was completed. For instance, the experiences ong>ofong> Abdul, a Somalirespondent ong>andong> Paul, a Kosovan are enlightening. Abdul was asked if he wouldlike to clear boxes for two hours ong>andong> that became a permanent employment forhim; Paul accompanied his cousin on a building site just to kill boredom ong>andong> hegot started in a job on the spot. Unskilled work was not ong>ofong>ten too difficult to long>andong>,which leads one to establish a connection between such employment ong>andong>research finding by Castles & Kosack (1973:5) who see migrants, given thesubaltern role they fulfil, as a reserve army ong>ofong> labour (as termed by Anthias &Yuval Davis’s (1995:67) being required in order “to keep wages down”. From thisperspective, migrants are seen as a capitalist tool ong>ofong> production ong>andong> prong>ofong>it.Refugees as forced migrants do not escape this logic ong>ofong> exploitation ong>andong> in manyinstances, their plight has been said to be less desirable than that ong>ofong> thevoluntary migrants. Nikolinakos (1975) goes further to qualify the migrant labourforce as a “sub-proletariat” that divides the working class.The search for work in the unskilled sector transcends conventional jobsearch methods in a developed country like Britain. Friends are encouraged tobring friends to fill vacancies; in other words refugees are encouraged to bringother refugees to nourish the number ong>ofong> unskilled workers in the low status jobs.The most eligible are those who cannot speak the language ong>ofong> the new countryong>andong> are therefore not aspiring for ‘unreasonable’ positions in the employmentmarket. The underemployment ong>ofong> refugees here confirms the assertion thatlanguage is a powerful tool ong>ofong> communication ong>andong> one ong>ofong> the primary engines forsocialisation. Anthias & Yuval-Davis (1995:4) argue that the inclusion or exclusionong>ofong> particular social groups depends ong>ofong> a number ong>ofong> parameters ong>ofong> which languageis a fundamental one. These parameters, including language, help to define theboundaries as to who belongs ong>andong> who does not.58


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008RacismBrennan & McGeevoer (1990:93) argue that “employment opportunitiesare limited for refugees as a result ong>ofong> the lack ong>ofong> consistent implementation ong>ofong>equal opportunities policies”. This is close to what is described in the UK in the SirMcPherson report in 2003 as ‘institutional racism’ whereby organisations fail totake the necessary steps to address racial imbalances in the workforce,contributing to deny opportunities to minority groups. Racial discrimination playsan important part in keeping refugees in unskilled low status work. This has beenwell documented (Hack-Polay, 2006; Block, 2002; Anthias & Yuval-Davis, 1995).Typically in this research, fewer respondents have described experiences ong>ofong> directracism in their work place. However, the fear ong>ofong> the spectrum ong>ofong> racism hasconfined to silence ong>andong> strict obedience in employment ong>andong> in the workplace.Many agree that they rarely ask any questions regarding employment rights,promotion or conditions ong>ofong> work. Henriette, a Congolese refugee expressed thegeneral fear ong>andong> perception in the following terms:You do your job ong>andong> go home. You never know what will happen to you tomorrowif you talk too much. I heard that some black workers were dismissed because theyspoke out about discrimination.Does such fear ong>ofong> the spectrum ong>ofong> racism in employment exemplify themetaphors ong>ofong> “exile as happiness ong>andong> sadness” ong>andong> “exile as a strange place”? Inmany respect it could be interpreted as such. In fact, while the refugeesinterviewed were quite happy to be earning their living in honesty, they were alsosaddened that because ong>ofong> their status, their languages accents or their ethnicorigins, they were denied opportunities that others saw as legitimate ong>andong> a lifetimeachievement. There is no doubt that asylum in such circumstances would seem forsome exiles as “nostalgia”, particularly for the civil servant, the teacher, the highstatus ong>ofong>ficer back home. In fact, what racism does to the mind ong>ofong> those affected isto generate a sense ong>ofong> inferiority ong>andong> loss ong>ofong> self-esteem. Vietnamese refugeechildren interviewed by Finlay & Reynolds (1987) describe themselves as hopelessin front ong>ofong> situation when others denied them their humanity. One ong>ofong> theinterviewees explained that “they call you animal ong>andong> ask you what you have cometo do here”. When growing up, if the damage to the mind is not unlearned theyoung adult carries it throughout their lives in most areas ong>ofong> social life including59


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008employment because racism could be a mode ong>ofong> “exclusion, inferiorization,subordination ong>andong> exploitation” (Anthias & Yuval-Davis, 1995:2).Socio-cultural boundariesSocial cultural boundaries here are understood as behaviours or social ong>andong>cultural practices that the forced migrants bring with them into the host society,which contrast with those ong>ofong> the new milieu ong>andong> could help identify the newcomersas outsiders. These may include religious beliefs, national dress, language, socialbehaviours (e.g. address ong>andong> greetings), employment practices, etc. The refugees inthis research sometimes had to abong>andong>on part ong>ofong> self culturally ong>andong> embrace newways. That’s part ong>ofong> the adaptation process. This is a painful sacrifice but it’s aboutsurvival. The example ong>ofong> a Kosovan who consumed culturally unacceptable food enroute for Britain shows the degree to which one has to reinvent self when faced upwith new realities. Those who desperately do not want to sacrifice self, beliefs ong>andong>cultural ong>andong> religious values learned in the old society suffer isolation ong>andong> greatdisadvantage because there are not always services that take account ong>ofong> suchdifferences.The unemployment ong>ofong> refugee women is largely influenced by culturalboundaries. ‘Women should stay at home’, such is the norm in many native refugeesocieties ong>andong> this message is carried with them into exile. Dependant wives thatcome to join spouses are entangled in this cultural enigma which does not alwaysfit the requirements ong>ofong> the receiving societies. Women are therefore trappedbetween the need to adapt to new social ong>andong> cultural realities ong>andong> the need tocomply with minority social orders ong>ofong>ten enforced through social control. This isparticularly the case in the Kosovan ong>andong> Somali communities. A Kosovan womanvoiced that she came to accept that women should look after the home ong>andong> thechildren ong>andong> the man should be the bread winner; “such was the social division ong>ofong>labour back home ong>andong> I don’t know why this should not be replicated here if we aretogether”. This confirms a statement by a Kosovan interviewee who warned theresearcher about the cultural conservatism ong>ofong> male Kosovans towards femalemembers ong>ofong> their community. The Congolese women were more liberal. Not onlymore ong>ofong> them agreed to individual interviews than other communities, but therewere also more ong>ofong> them in employment than their Kosovan ong>andong> Somalicounterparts. Marshall (1996) explains how in some cultures it is inconceivable that60


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008women sit in the same vicinities as men, which prevents a large number ong>ofong> womenfrom participating in education, training ong>andong> employment.However, the effects ong>ofong> cultural antagonism between the old ong>andong> newcultures do not only affect women. Male respondents also were faced withdilemmas. While training for instance, three Somali refugees had to resignthemselves to accept to train with women, particularly non-Muslims. Sam, a Somalirefugee who converted to Christianity found it difficult to accommodate thesituation at first. He said:I was embarrassed because a girl sat next to me on the first lesson. This isn’t usualin my culture. Later the lecturer saw my embarrassment ong>andong> we discussed theissue. Although I continued the class, I didn’t understong>andong> the significance ong>ofong> havingmixed classes until I married an English woman.The clash ong>ofong> cultures continued in the workplace for male respondentsfrom Somalia ong>andong> Kosovo. Musa, a Somali who works in a factory also found itpeculiar to perform the same role as women. He recalls that:I was shy among all these ladies with whom I was sticking labels on the products.As I was slower than the female colleagues, the supervisor asked me if I wanted totry another job in the factory. I trained in forklift driving which I thought was moreong>ofong> a male job.In most cases the refugees managed to overcome cultural barriers ong>andong>continue their learning, training or employment. But in some instances, the culturalboundary was so stark that the respondent gave up his work ong>andong> sought alternativeemployment. Idriss who was sent by an employment agency to work with sausagestold the researcher that because ong>ofong> his religion, Islam, he could not work with pork.On the first day ong>ofong> employment when he realised that the meat being hong>andong>led waspork, he asked to leave. Idriss took some considerable time before finding anotherjob because ong>ofong> his cultural requirements. The experiences ong>ofong> the refugees showthat it takes time to undo or considerably alter the original cultures which wereengraved in the conscience. Cultural transformation came only with the need forsurvival.Employment culture in the host countryA further cultural barrier relates to the complexity ong>ofong> the British labourmarket ong>andong> employment culture. The vast majority ong>ofong> the respondents, actually all61


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008but the two participants that engaged in the conventional job search exercise, didnot know how to go about finding a job in the UK. The respondents were puzzledabout the ways in which they could enter the job market in the country ong>ofong> exile.This sharply contrasts with the knowledge ong>andong> practices they were familiar with intheir countries ong>ofong> origin. In countries where the respondents came from (Somalia,Congo, Kosovo), success in the job market depended upon connections,acquaintances ong>andong> other networks they could exploit. But in exile, they did notknow many people ong>andong> networks, particularly those that were influential enough topush them into ‘desirable’ jobs. The lack ong>ofong> such familiar sources could explain whymany refugees are confined to under-employment or unemployment. ong>Researchong>found that “the lack ong>ofong> references, networking ong>andong> work experience in the UK wasa considerable barrier to employment” (Civis Trust, 2002:82). The terror ong>ofong> notmaking it in the employment market was almost unanimous among theparticipants. As Jean, a Congolese refugee, pointed out:When I started looking for a job, I had no clue about where to start. Later I heardthat I could approach employment agencies. But I didn’t know what they were ong>andong>where to find them. In Congo, we don’t have much ong>ofong> those agencies. When Iqualified, the government gave me the job in the regions. That’s it. To come to abigger city, relatives who knew people at the top helped me.Jean’s experience is not singular. Kosovan respondents ong>andong> Somali refugeesevoked similar experiences. This sort ong>ofong> experiences ong>ofong> the job market has notsharpened the job search abilities ong>ofong> the refugees to find their way round in thehighly competitive employment market in the UK. In most cases, the jobs wereallocated to the refugees in their own country as opposed to searching for the jobin the UK. The respondents needed lots ong>ofong> training in job search within UKemployment culture as well as advice ong>andong> guidance. However, as it could be seenwith the Kosovans predominantly, many ong>ofong> the refugees interviewed chose toremain attached to employment cultures that they were familiar with in theircountries ong>ofong> origin. It has been shown earlier that a substantial number ong>ofong> them gottheir first job through friends or by being introduced to employers by their traininginstitutions whose impact has been instrumental in the refugees securing their firstjobs. ong>Researchong> by the Peabody Trust (1999:82) found that the most commonmethod for refugees to find jobs was “through friends”. Only a hong>andong>ful took theconventional way to apply for jobs by themselves.62


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Within British employment culture, a key area holding many respondentsback was the procedure. In the UK, most companies have their own applicationswhich are ong>ofong>ten lengthy. The non-expert found it extremely disconcerting. AKosovan refugee told the researcher:I got an application form for a clerical job. It had loads ong>ofong> pages. It asked forreferences from previous employers ong>andong> other qualifications like GCSE. I didn’tunderstong>andong>. I thought I could never do this. I asked friends for help to get work intheir restaurant. And I was introduced to the chef who took me on.The unfamiliarity ong>ofong> refugees with UK employment culture with regards toapplication forms ong>andong> curriculum vitae has been well documented. The metaphorsong>ofong> “exile as a strange place”, “exile as a new beginning”, formulated by theparticipants illustrate the idea that the refugees felt lost in an alien employmentculture. ‘Strange’ is a strong qualification when referring to a place because itencapsulates the meaning ong>ofong> unwelcome-ness, fear ong>andong> gloom. The phrase ‘newbeginning’ in the second metaphor illustrates the start ong>ofong> a new process with itsuncertainties though it could represent hope ong>andong> present some opportunities.Marshall (1992) who spent many years in career guidance with refugees arguesthat finding work in the UK for refugees represents a completely new venture thatthey learn the hard way. With complex forms to fill ong>andong> confusing employmentlegislation that restricts the right to work for refugees (Civis Trust, 2002), manyrefugees abong>andong>on the socialisation process vis-à-vis the employment field. For themany who do not make it to the stong>andong>ards meeting their expectations, asylumcould be viewed as a ‘downfall’.Summary ong>andong> conclusionsThe research found that the prong>ofong>essional status ong>ofong> the refugees in the hostcountry contrasts with that once held in the native country. In exile the refugeeswere mostly in unskilled or semi-skilled employment while prior to becomingrefugees they held prong>ofong>essional positions. Most respondent would use networksong>andong> acquaintances to find jobs, with the second most used route into employmentbeing through training although a small proportion among the respondents wouldmake individual effort to secure jobs. Although the respondents’ unemploymentrate (33 per cent) is an improved figure on the usually quoted 70 per cent, the jobtypes are similar to those reported in previous research, e.g. Marshall, 1992. The63


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008respondents’ employment prospects were affected by social realities such aslanguage, racism, socio-cultural boundaries ong>andong> employment cultures in the hostsociety.Not finding a job was part ong>ofong> numerous constraints ong>ofong> exile over which theforced migrants had little control. Language, cultural barriers, racism ong>andong> lack ong>ofong>the helping networks usually played against them. The refugees would like exile toong>ofong>fer them the opportunity to contribute to social, economic ong>andong> cultural life in thenew country ong>andong> pay back the hospitality that the host nation would have giventhem. Tabori (1972:3) argues that “exiles have made an important ong>andong> lastingcontribution to whatever country was willing to receive them”. The British RefugeeCouncil (2002), in its Credit to the nation, argues that many great world citizenssuch as Karl Marx ong>andong> Albert Einstein were refugees.The refugees with higher educational ong>andong> prong>ofong>essional backgrounds wereaided in the psychological ong>andong> social healing by their experiences as they perceivedthem as credentials on which they could build; however, for a number ong>ofong> themthese became false hopes ong>andong> further alienation as the refugees encountereddifficulties reinventing their prong>ofong>essional ong>andong> social statuses. In general, the studyshows that past positive social experiences such high social status ong>andong> level ong>ofong>education in the country ong>ofong> origin help promote better integration in exile.Integration is also affected by the exiles’ cultural heritage, e.g. religious, the view ong>ofong>gender. For instance, the research has revealed greater educational ong>andong>employment participation for Congolese women than their Kosovan ong>andong> Somalicounterparts.An important contribution ong>ofong> the study has been to identify a typology ong>ofong>job search strategies by forced migrants ong>andong> consider the correlation between suchstrategies ong>andong> their maintenance in lower employment. The migrants used threeprincipal strategies to enter the labour market: through acquaintances, training ong>andong>personal action. The research suggests that the existence ong>ofong> this typology couldhelp explain why refugees stay in subaltern employment; as they enter the jobmarket through acquaintances who usually work at the lower end themselves, theobvious consequence is that the new entrant will long>andong> in similar occupation.Similarly, those taking the training route ong>andong> personal action, are faced with racismwhich may go unnoticed as language issues are ong>ofong>ten used as an alibi for rejectingthe forced migrant’s claim to reasonable employment commensurate with their64


The Underutilisation ong>ofong> Forced Migrants in the British EconomyJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008qualifications ong>andong> experiences. In addition, the complexities ong>ofong> the host labourmarket contribute to marginalise them further.The research found that the refugees’ strong educational ong>andong> prong>ofong>essionalbackgrounds should militate in their favour ong>andong> represent an advantage for theBritish economy. More dynamic ong>andong> constructive resettlement programmes suchas those ong>ofong> the Indochinese in the USA, Canada ong>andong> Australia in the 1970s ong>andong>1980s (Robinson, 2000) would help remove some ong>ofong> the ‘hell’ ong>andong> empower theexile to live a dignified ong>andong> productive life. The UNHCR Commissioner referring toresettled Indochinese refugees after the exodus ong>ofong> the 1980s, observes that atpresent “most ong>ofong> the refugees who were admitted to countries such as the USA,Canada, Australia ong>andong> France have now become fully fledged citizens ong>ofong> theiradopted countries” (in Robinson, 2000:vii), thus making use ong>ofong> valuable humanresources. With expansion ong>ofong> the European Union to Eastern Europe, more ong>andong>more organisations are seeing the added benefits ong>ofong> using migrant labour.Considering the tremendous economic ong>andong> cultural contributions ong>ofong> forcedmigrants to host nations, countries receiving people in need ong>ofong> protection could besitting on human gold mines only waiting to be exploited. Widening thisrecruitment drive to forced migrants could provide companies with renewedlabour force in times ong>ofong> skill shortage ong>andong> an ageing population. In addition,employers could tap into this wealth ong>ofong> experience, especially internationalcompanies whose staff recruitment criteria encapsulate significant emphasis oncultural awareness. In effect, most ong>ofong> the forced migrants in the research spokemore than one language ong>andong> understood more than one culture ong>andong> could besuitable match for some positions ong>ofong>ten requiring expatriates. With large numbersong>ofong> nationalities among migrants in the UK, one may not need an expert eye toarrive to the conclusion that the world has come to Britain to help it sustain itsplace in the global village (Hack-Polay, 2006).REFERENCESAnthias, F & Yuval-Davis, N (1995) Racialized boundaries: race, nation, colour ong>andong> class ong>andong> theanti-racist struggle, London, Routledge.Banton, M (1987) Racial theories, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Bloch, A (2002) The migration ong>andong> settlement ong>ofong> refugees in Britain, London, Palgrave Macmillan.Brennan, J & McGeevor, P (1990) Ethnic minorities ong>andong> the graduate labour market, London,Commission for Race Equality.65


Dieu Donné HACK-POLAYJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008British Refugee Council (1990) Refugee employment ong>andong> training: a positive policy for the 1990s,London, BRC.British Refugee Council (2002) Credit to the nation: Refugee contributions to the UK, London, BRC.CIA (2006) World Factbook, http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ print/so.htmldownloaded 31/03/06.Castles, S & Kosack, G (1973) Immigrant workers in the class structure in western Europe, Oxford,Oxford University Press.Citizens Advice Bureau (1993) Welcome to the UK? The experiences ong>ofong> asylum seekers in London,Occasional Paper 4, London, CAB.Clark, G (1992) LEPU: refugees ong>andong> the Greenwich labour market, London, Greenwich Council.Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) (2006) Statistics: Labour market,http://www.cre.gov.uk/research/statitistics_labour.html, accessed 18/08/2006.Copson, R W (2001) IB96037: Congo (formerly Zaire) CRS Issue Brief for Congress, Washington DC,National Council for Science ong>andong> the Environment.Delphy, C & Leonard, D (1992) Familiar exploitation, Cambridge, Polity Press.DfES (2001) Adult ESOL core curriculum, London, Basic Skills Agency.Edwards, R C et al. (1975) Labour market segmentation, Lexington Mass. DC, Heath & Co.Gilroy, P (1987) There ain’t no Black in the Union Jack, London, Hutchinson.Hack-Polay, D D (2006) “Public image limited” People Management, 12(11), 1 st June, p.7.Hack-Polay, D D (2000) “Protect ong>andong> thrive” People Management, 1 st July.Home Office (1995) ong>Researchong> findings, No.16, March, London, Home Office ong>Researchong> & StatisticsDepartment.Kirk, R (2004) Skills audit ong>ofong> refugees, London, Home Office.Lin, K M (1986) "Psychopathology ong>andong> social disruption in refugees" in Williams, C L &Westermeyer, J (1986) (eds.) Refugee mental health in resettlement countries,Washington DC, Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 61-73.Majid, N (2005) On the evolution ong>ofong> employment structure in developing countries, New York,International Labour Organisation (ILO).Marshall, T (1992) Career guidance with refugees, London, British Refugee Council.Mengesha, M (1995) Responding to refugees' needs: the challenge for voluntary agencies ong>andong>churches in the London Borough ong>ofong> Newham, Refugee Support ong>Centreong>, London,Community Renewal Newham.Miles, R (1989) Racism, London, Routledge.Phizacklea, A & Miles, R (1980) Labour & racism, London, Routledge & Kegan Paul.PSI (1997) Ethnic minorities in Britain: Diversity ong>andong> disadvantage: the fourth national survey ong>ofong>ethnic minorities, London, Policy ong>Studiesong> Institute.Robinson, V (1993) “Marching into the middle classes? The long term resettlement ong>ofong> East AfricanAsians in the UK”, ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> Refugee ong>Studiesong>, 6(3), 230-247.Robinson, W C (2000) Terms ong>ofong> refuge: the Indochinese exodus ong>andong> the international response,London, Zed Books.Solomos, J & Back, L (1996) Racism ong>andong> society, London, Macmillan.Tabori, P (1972) The anatomy ong>ofong> exile: a semantic ong>andong> historical study, London, Harrap.66


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008Deconstructing the Environment: The Case ong>ofong> AdultImmigrants to Canada Learning EnglishAndreea CERVATIUCAbstract. This article identifies ong>andong> deconstructs the ways in which prong>ofong>essionally successfuladult immigrants to Canada chose to interact with ong>andong> reshape different environments inorder to foster their English learning process. The sample for this study was selected to berepresentative ong>ofong> the “brain gain” immigration wave to Canada ong>ofong> the last two decades. All20 participants belong to the same category ong>ofong> highly-educated (17+ years ong>ofong> education),independent immigrants who came to Canada as young adults. The data collection processconsisted ong>ofong> a series ong>ofong> three interviews with each participant. The data were analyzedfollowing the principles ong>ofong> the grounded theory method. Several qualitative themesassociated with learning English as an adult immigrant in various types ong>ofong> environments inCanada (instructed environments, ‘manipulated’ naturalistic environments, ong>andong> unalterednaturalistic environments) emerged from the interviews with the participants. The themesare critically explored ong>andong> special emphasis is laid on the ways in which participantsovercame difficulties inherent in the environmental factors that were not readily structuredto ong>ofong>fer immigrants opportunities to learn ong>andong> practice English.Keywords: immigrants, Canada, English learning processIntroductionCanada’s Immigration policy ong>ofong> the last two decades has been designed toattract young skilled immigrants from a variety ong>ofong> prong>ofong>essions, based on thepremise that immigration is a key strategy for ensuring economic growth inCanada. Canada’s proportion ong>ofong> foreign-born people has reached the highest levelin 75 years. In 2006, they accounted for approximately one in five (19.8%) ong>ofong> thetotal population (Statistics Canada, 2006). However, research indicates thatimmigrants are not integrating into the Canadian economy as readily as had beenpredicted (Duffy, 2000). Statistics Canada’s (2003) Second Wave ong>ofong> the LongitudinalSurvey ong>ofong> Immigrants to Canada found that out ong>ofong> the principal applicants in theskilled worker category, between the ages ong>ofong> 25 ong>andong> 44, only 48% found a job intheir intended occupation. Moreover, nearly a fifth ong>ofong> recent immigrants are inchronic low income. In 2006, the national unemployment rate for immigrants who67


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008had been in the country for less than 5 years was 11.5%, more than double the rateong>ofong> 4.9% for the Canadian-born population (Statistics Canada, 2005).One ong>ofong> the key barriers to the social ong>andong> prong>ofong>essional integration ong>ofong>immigrants is insufficient prong>ofong>iciency in English. ong>Researchong> findings indicate that highEnglish prong>ofong>iciency has a positive effect on immigrant earnings ong>andong> employmenttype in Canada (Chiswick & Miller, 1988; Boyd, 1990; DeSilva, 1997), while lowEnglish skills correlate with low income (Pendakur & Pendakur, 1997). Many highlyeducated immigrants living in Canada who do not speak English well drive taxi cabsong>andong> deliver pizza. For them that life in Canada falls short ong>ofong> its promises(Mazumdar, 2004).Recent research on adult rates ong>ofong> second language acquisition (Watt &Lake, 2004) indicates that the second language acquisition ong>ofong> most adultimmigrants slows down ong>andong> plateaus or fossilizes at an intermediate level ong>ofong>prong>ofong>iciency. In order to access ong>andong> be successful in various prong>ofong>essional occupationssuch as engineering, medicine, ong>andong> accounting, an advanced level ong>ofong> English isnecessary. It is intriguing why only some adult immigrants become highly prong>ofong>icientin English ong>andong> achieve their prong>ofong>essional goals. Even if the environmental resourcesavailable to all immigrants may be similar, individuals may choose to use them indifferent ways. The current study inquires into how adult immigrants to Canadatook advantage ong>ofong> or shaped their environment in order to improve their Englishprong>ofong>iciency to a level that would allow them to practice as prong>ofong>essionals.ong>Researchong> Perspectives on the Role ong>ofong> the Environment in Second LanguageAcquisitionOver three decades ago, Hymes (1972, p. xix) emphasized the importanceong>ofong> the environment in acquiring a second language, considering that the key tounderstong>andong>ing language in context is to start with the context, as opposed to thelanguage, but constantly relate the two. Second language acquisition researchersgenerally agree that the more exposure to the target language second languagelearners experience, the more prong>ofong>icient they will become. The field has seen twodiffering views on the role ong>ofong> the environment: one that overemphasizes psycholinguisticfactors (Long, 1997) at the expense ong>ofong> socio-linguistic variables ong>andong>another that takes into account external factors (Firth & Wagner, 1997; Crookes,1997) in addition to psycho-linguistic elements.Several classifications ong>ofong> second learning environments have beenproposed. The distinction between natural or informal second environments ong>andong>68


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008formal classroom environments is widely recognized in second language acquisitionresearch:The distinction between the two is usually stated as a set ong>ofong> contrasting conditions.In natural second language learning, the language is being used forcommunication, but in the formal situation, it is used only to teach. In naturalsecond language learning, the learner is surrounded by fluent speakers ong>ofong> thetarget language, but in the formal classroom, only the teacher (if anyone) is fluent(Spolsky, 1989, p. 171).Batstone (2002) distinguishes between communicative contexts, in whichlearners use the second language as a tool or means for exchanging informationong>andong> accomplishing social tasks ong>andong> learning contexts, in which input ong>andong> learneroutput are fashioned with the assistance ong>ofong> a teacher. Platt ong>andong> Brooks (1994, p.507) argue that learners construct different meanings out ong>ofong> the same environmentthat ong>ofong>fers comprehensible input. They also question the validity ong>ofong> the termacquisition-rich environment (Ellis, 1990), which assumes that contexts that provideopportunities for learning can be rich ong>andong> a priori (Krashen, 1982) ong>andong> claim thatlearning environments are not ontological realities, but are constructed by thespeech activities learners produce. Proponents ong>ofong> the ecological view in both firstlanguage ong>andong> second language acquisition on view language as inseparable fromthe speakers ong>andong> their social networks (Leather & van Dam, 2003) ong>andong> presume thenon-existence ong>ofong> context-free language acquisition.Norton’s (2000) longitudinal study ong>ofong> five immigrant women in Canadaong>ofong>fers a comparative account ong>ofong> participants’ experiences with getting access tosocial networks in order to practice English ong>andong> gain communicative competence.Norton’s view is that it is erroneous to presume that responsibility for creatingopportunities to practice the target language lies exclusively with second languagelearners, since their interactions with native speakers are already structured ong>andong>ong>ofong>ten determined by inequitable relations ong>ofong> power. The author suggests thatnative speakers are more likely to avoid interactions with non-native speakers,rather than provide them with input ong>andong> help them negotiate meaning in the targetlanguage. Norton challenges the view ong>ofong> naturalistic language learning as an idealprocess, in which immigrants are immersed in an optimum second languageenvironment ong>andong> surrounded by supportive native speakers who interact with nonnativespeakers in an egalitarian ong>andong> accepting manner. Under thesecircumstances, the language learners in her study became introverted, sensitive torejection, ong>andong> took less language risks. As a result, they did not manage to acquire ahigh level ong>ofong> English prong>ofong>iciency. Previous research has generally on immigrants69


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008who felt marginalized ong>andong> were relatively unsuccessful in learning English ong>andong>gaining meaningful employment.The current study gives voice to successful adult immigrants to Canada whohave achieved their prong>ofong>essional goals ong>andong> acquired a high level ong>ofong> Englishprong>ofong>iciency. How did they use the environment in order to foster their secondlanguage acquisition? ong>Researchong> to date ong>ofong>fers few insights into this question.ong>Researchong> QuestionThe orienting question that guided this research study was:What are some ways in which successful adult immigrants to Canada choseto interact with ong>andong> reshape different environments in order to foster their secondlanguage acquisition ong>andong> acquire high English prong>ofong>iciency?ParticipantsThe sample ong>ofong> this study consisted ong>ofong> 20 adult highly-prong>ofong>icient non-nativespeakers, who arrived in Canada after the age ong>ofong> 18 ong>andong> who are academically orprong>ofong>essionally successful. The age upon arrival ranged between 18 ong>andong> 39 yearsold, with a group average ong>ofong> 28.95 years ong>andong> the length ong>ofong> residence in Canadaranged between 5 ong>andong> 37 years, with a group average ong>ofong> 11.55 years.ong>Researchong> subjects were selected through theoretical sampling, a commonprocedure in qualitative research, according to which the subjects are selectedbased on how likely they are to contribute to the development ong>ofong> an emergingtheory (Seale, 2004). The sample for this study was selected to be representativeong>ofong> the “brain gain” immigration wave to Canada ong>ofong> the last two decades. Allparticipants belong to the same category ong>ofong> highly-educated (17+ years),independent immigrants who came to Canada as young adults. The sampleincluded ten prong>ofong>essional occupations in Canada (accountant, college instructor,computer prong>ofong>essional, data analyst, engineer, geologist, interior designer, networkspecialist, architect, ong>andong> technical sales representative) ong>andong> thirteen first languages(Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Hungarian, Malayan, Marathi, Polish, Punjabi,Romanian, Serbian, Spanish, ong>andong> Urdu) spoken by participants.The researcher approached 12 organizations in a large city in Canada(educational institutions ong>andong> companies that employ internationally-educatedprong>ofong>essionals) that were likely to know or employ adult English non-native speakers70


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008ong>andong> that would invite them to participate in this study on behalf ong>ofong> the researcher.The intermediaries at these organizations passed along the invitation to participatein this research study to adult immigrants who were perceived to have exceptionalcommong>andong> ong>ofong> English, had come to Canada after the age ong>ofong> 18, had acquired highEnglish prong>ofong>iciency as adults, ong>andong> were prong>ofong>essionals practicing in their field.Potential participants were given the contact information for the researcher ong>andong>they were encouraged to follow through on the invitation at their earliestconvenience.Data Collection ong>andong> AnalysisThe data collection process consisted ong>ofong> a series ong>ofong> three interviews witheach participant. Open-ended ong>andong> flexible questions were asked in all interviews(Appendix A). A significant amount ong>ofong> time was spent with each participant. Thethird interview was scheduled to explore in-depth aspects that emerged in the firstong>andong> second ones. Interviews were audio-taped ong>andong> then transcribed for dataanalysis. Participants were given the option to use their own name or apseudonym. They were also asked to complete a background informationquestionnaire (Appendix B) to gather demographic information.The data were analyzed following the principles ong>ofong> the grounded theorymethod (Glaser & Strauss, 1967). The process ong>ofong> data analysis was concomitantwith the process ong>ofong> data gathering ong>andong> began immediately after the first day in thefield. Through the constant comparison method, three levels ong>ofong> codes weregenerated. Level I codes, also called in vivo or substantive codes, were the exactwords that participants used in interviews. Level II codes resulted from comparingong>andong> condensing Level I codes. Similar Level I codes or items with sharedcharacteristics fell into the same category. Finally, Level III codes were generatedby integrating categories ong>andong> their properties ong>andong> raising the data to a higher levelong>ofong> abstraction to generate major themes.FindingsFor the purpose ong>ofong> this study, instructed environments, in which languagelearning is facilitated by a teacher or tutor, are distinguished from naturalisticenvironments, in which language acquisition occurs naturally. A further distinctionis made between ‘manipulated’ naturalistic environments ong>andong> unalterednaturalistic environments in order to emphasize the presence or absence ong>ofong>71


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008learners’ involvement in adjusting the conditions ong>ofong> their natural environment. Amanipulated naturalistic environment was adjusted or molded by second learnersto accelerate their language acquisition process.Table 1 summarizes the qualitative themes associated with learning Englishas an adult immigrant in various types ong>ofong> environments in Canada, which emergedfrom the interviews with the participants.Table 1: Qualitative themes associated with learning English in different types ong>ofong>environments in CanadaType ong>ofong> Environment Qualitative ThemesInstructed environments‘Manipulated’naturalisticenvironmentsUnaltered naturalisticenvironmentsEnrolling in university or college coursesHiring a private tutorManipulating or co-creating the every-dayenvironmentCombining a pragmatic ong>andong> a learning purpose intothe same objectSeeking social interaction with English nativespeakersCultivating extroversion/outgoingnessTaking risks in speaking EnglishSecond language immersionSecuring employment that requires a high level ong>ofong>communicative competenceSeeking communication with English native-speakingco-workersLearning English in Instructed EnvironmentsTwo themes emerged as associated with English acquisition in instructedenvironments: enrolling in university or college courses ong>andong> hiring a private tutor.Even if the majority ong>ofong> participants immigrated after they had completed postsecondary studies in their native countries, most ong>ofong> them undertook some form ong>ofong>education in Canada.Participants viewed education as an investment in their second languagedevelopment, which would give them greater access to the “symbolic ong>andong> materialresources” (Norton, 2000) ong>ofong> their new country. In terms ong>ofong> financial investment,they either used their life-time savings or obtained student loans to pay tuition. All72


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008informants were highly-educated people with an appreciation ong>ofong> the gains in sociolinguisticong>andong> economic power that extra-schooling could bring.Relations ong>ofong> power in society operate both at the macro level ong>ofong> institutionsong>andong> the micro level ong>ofong> everyday encounters (Foucault, 1980) ong>andong> immigrants whocannot speak the second language well ong>ofong>ten feel “powerless” ong>andong> have limitedaccess to the symbolic ong>andong> material resources ong>ofong> their new country. In this light,participants’ investment in high-level education can be regarded a strategy forgaining access to more equitable power ong>andong> resources in their adoptive society.1. Enrolling in university or college coursesBy taking high-level courses in their area ong>ofong> expertise, participantsaccomplished two goals: they upgraded their prong>ofong>essional competence ong>andong>improved their lexical knowledge. Post-secondary education was generallyperceived as an eye-opening experience, leading to the realization that the wayto keep up with native speakers peers was to put more effort into consciouslearning.Post-secondary school constitutes a perfect English learningenvironment, because it stimulates the growth ong>ofong> the context-reduced ong>andong>cognitively-demong>andong>ing language needed for academic tasks, but it also ong>ofong>fersopportunities to practice the context-embedded, idiomatic, ong>andong> naturallanguage ong>ofong> ‘here ong>andong> now’ (Cummins, 1996), because immigrants have anopportunity to communicate with their Canadian-born peers on livedexperiences, exchange opinions, ong>andong> share their views.Post-secondary education requires extensive reading ong>andong> participantsput extra-time every day into studying the new words ong>andong> relied on their abilityto understong>andong> the overall meaning, resorting to background knowledge ong>andong>underlying prong>ofong>iciency in spite ong>ofong> not knowing all the words in academic texts.Extensive reading ong>ofong>fers enough exposure to a large number ong>ofong> runningwords in a variety ong>ofong> texts to ensure that even infrequent words reoccur toprovide the repetition necessary for lexical acquisition to take place.Intentional vocabulary learning from reading was repeatedly emphasized asessential for long-term lexical retention.Participant: When I studied for the Engineering Ethics exam, I really improvedmy English. The first time when I read the book, it was really hard for me, butwhen I read it the second ong>andong> the third time ong>andong> I wrote down all the newwords, it became easier. This is something that I usually do: I write down the73


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008new words on yellow stickers that I keep in the book ong>andong>, from time to time, Igo through ong>andong> read some ong>ofong> those words, ong>andong> try to remember them ong>andong> usethem in sentences.Participants mentioned various approaches they took to make the newwords salient ong>andong> easy to remember such as colorful stickers, vocabularynotebooks, ong>andong> highlighters. The key aspect is that all these visual props wereintentionally used to ensure better lexical acquisition.Highly prong>ofong>icient second language speakers may have learned at leastpart ong>ofong> the low-frequency words they know not only because they readextensively in a field that interested them, but also because they developed ong>andong>used a consistent protocol for intentional vocabulary learning from reading.They paid attention to the unknown words in a text, took the time to find theirmeanings, used visual props as self-made scaffolds to help them internalize ong>andong>remember those words, ong>andong> reviewed them at a later time.2. Hiring a private tutorA way ong>ofong> creating a semi-instructed English learning environment was tohire an English native speaker as private tutor or a non-native speaker withnative-like English prong>ofong>iciency ong>andong> a Canadian background. The relationshiplearner-tutor was perceived as being one ong>ofong> total trust ong>andong> openness, with ahigh percentage ong>ofong> time spent together speaking English, simulating real-lifesituations, or solving language problems. The tutor acted as a bridge betweenlearners ong>andong> the target culture ong>andong> language, providing a shelteredenvironment that makes the transition between instructed-language learningong>andong> naturalistic second language acquisition.Participant: I had a private tutor for everything like reading, writing, speaking,ong>andong> listening ong>andong> I asked her to help me out. In the beginning, I asked her tohelp me review the grammar ong>andong> writing, but after a while we just talked inEnglish, we communicated a lot. She is from my country, but she has nativelikeprong>ofong>iciency ong>andong> she has been in Canada for a long time… So in the past 5years, I have improved a lot. I feel quite comfortable to talk about everything.Most participants found their tutors by putting ads in the newspaper orfinding available ones through university bulletin boards. Most tutors wereCanadian-born graduate students who were willing to ong>ofong>fer informal Englishtraining to supplement their income. Many learners saw great benefits for74


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008improving their English prong>ofong>iciency in having a native speaker who acted as afriend ong>andong> tutor:Participant: I have a Canadian friend who is also my English tutor. I feel that myEnglish has improved so much thanks to the opportunity ong>ofong> interacting with herong>andong> getting feedback.Other participants mentioned the importance ong>ofong> establishing a trustbasedrelationship with a native speaker, who could correct their mistakes,without being judgmental:Participant: I do have one Canadian friend who is my tutor ong>andong> she corrects mewhen I make mistakes ong>andong> I am not afraid ong>ofong> trying out new expression s ong>andong>words when I am with her. I feel very comfortable with that friend, I don’t feelthreatened or embarrassed, ong>andong> it’s important to establish a level ong>ofong> trust.Norton (2000) emphasizes that ong>ofong>ten adult immigrants to Canada do notget enough opportunities to practice the target language because ong>ofong> inequitablerelations ong>ofong> power between native speakers ong>andong> non-native speakers. In herimaginary example, Madame Rivest employs immigrant Saliha as a maid ong>andong> inthis way she controls both her access to material resources (wages) ong>andong> tosymbolic resources (opportunities to practice the second language).The situation reported by the participants in this study was exactly theopposite: by hiring native speakers as tutors, they controlled access to materialresources, as they put themselves in the position ong>ofong> employers, as well accessto symbolic resources, as they created opportunities to practice English, bymaking native speakers speak ong>andong> listen to them. Participants obtained thefunds to pay for tutoring either by doing manual jobs initially or by using part ong>ofong>the savings they brought to Canada. None ong>ofong> the participants was wealthy intheir country ong>ofong> origin, but they all worked as prong>ofong>essionals ong>andong> acquired somematerial capital, which they spent during their settlement process in Canada.Investing in specialized education ong>andong> tutoring was seen as worthier thanacquiring material goods.The majority ong>ofong> participants emphasized that continuing their educationin Canada in a formal learning environment (graduate education) or an informalone (tutor-mediated) played a major role in traveling the distance fromintermediate to advanced English prong>ofong>iciency.75


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Acquiring English in ‘Manipulated’ Naturalistic EnvironmentsTwo themes emerged as associated with English acquisition in‘manipulated’ naturalistic environments: manipulating or co-creating the every-dayenvironment ong>andong> combining a pragmatic, ong>andong> a learning purpose into the sameobject or symbol.1. Manipulating or co-creating the everyday environmentA recurrent view among participants is that they felt in charge ong>ofong> theirEnglish learning process as creators or co-creators ong>ofong> their environment. Mostpeople were aware ong>ofong> how they learn best ong>andong> took an active role in shaping aneffective learning environment in their own home. For some people, it meantdisplaying the subtitles while watching TV programs in English:Participant: I created an environment that helped our family tremendously. For allthe TV programs that had subtitles, I kept the subtitles so I was learning visuallyong>andong> listening at the same time ong>andong>, by this correlation, I was stimulating two waysong>ofong> learning in the cortex.Other participants found that watching TV without showing subtitlessharpened their listening comprehension ability ong>andong> helped them pick wordsaurally:Participant: In my case the best way was to watch movies without subtitles ong>andong>listen to the radio.An awareness ong>ofong> their natural learning predispositions helped mostlearners create an environment tailored to their needs. Most participants made aconstant effort to create the optimum conditions for second language lexicalacquisition to take place. That meant readjusting or calibrating the environmentalconditions to better serve their purpose. What worked for them at a certain pointin their learning journey may have become useless or redundant or even harmful ata later point, so constant ong>andong> thorough re-evaluation ong>ofong> their progress wasnecessary in order to reap the highest rewards.2. Combining a pragmatic ong>andong> a learning purpose into the same objectAnother reported way ong>ofong> maximizing the learning impact ong>ofong> everydaysituations was to combine two purposes into the same object or symbol. Besides76


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008telling the day ong>andong> the time, a wall calendar was used as a systematic vocabularylearning device, because it ong>ofong>fered an explanation, an example, ong>andong> sometimes apicture ong>ofong> the targeted word. Some participants took a pro-active approach tovocabulary acquisition ong>andong> purchased calendars with infrequent words. Theylearned at least a few new words every day, just by repeatedly looking at thecalendar, while doing something else around the house.Most participants emphasized that, after their arrival in Canada, theycouldn’t afford the luxury ong>ofong> putting their life on hold, waiting for their Englishvocabulary to improve. They still needed to make a living or complete various tasks,while acquiring vocabulary. An effective way ong>ofong> accomplishing both goals was tocreate visuals ong>andong> display them prominently, in a space that was used for work.Some ong>ofong> them put colorful notes with the word meanings on the fridge or desk ong>andong>repeated them while doing house chores or completing work tasks.The keys to manipulating the natural environment to optimally respond toevolving learning needs are awareness ong>andong> ingenuity. All participants revealed anawareness ong>ofong> their learning predispositions ong>andong> commented on their efforts toadjust the physical environment to match their natural tendencies.Acquiring English in Unaltered Naturalistic EnvironmentsSix themes emerged as associated with English acquisition in unalterednaturalistic environments: seeking social interaction with native speakers,cultivating extroversion/outgoingness, taking risks in speaking English, secondlanguage immersion, securing employment that requires a high level ong>ofong>communicative competence ong>andong> seeking communication with native speaking coworkers1. Seeking social interaction with native speakersSocial interaction in every-day life English-speaking environments wasregarded by most participants as essential for improving communicativeprong>ofong>iciency. In order to acquire high communicative competence, non-nativespeakers need to be exposed to a variety ong>ofong> social situations where they can useEnglish to accomplish tasks.The findings ong>ofong> this study concur with those ong>ofong> Norton’s in that non-nativespeakers who do not speak the target language well are not easily ong>andong> naturallyprovided with opportunities to practice the second language. Participants did not77


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008feel that they were automatically surrounded by supportive native speakers whointeracted with them in an egalitarian ong>andong> accepting manner. Native speakers weremore likely to avoid interactions with non-native speakers, rather than providethem with input ong>andong> help them negotiate meaning in the target language.Participants in the current study went to great lengths to encounteropportunities to practice English in natural environments. They proved to beextremely ingenious ong>andong> daring in their approaches ong>andong> realized that it wasimportant to find ways to make native speakers talk to them. Opportunities topractice the target language were not easily available, but all 20 participants in thisstudy eventually discovered them by finding interlocutors in places such as: cong>ofong>feeshops, malls, playgrounds, children’s schools, bookstores, neighbors, ong>andong> sportsclubs.Participant: I tried to use all opportunities that everyday life ong>ofong>fered ong>andong> makethem into language learning opportunities, ong>andong> I think that in most socialenvironments, there is something one can learn. So I learned to pay attentionwhen people were having conversations on the bus or C-train, or I would startconversations myself when taking my kid to the playground, or going to the gym,or running into my neighbours. I invited my neighbours to dinner many times sowe could speak English.Participant: To learn the language, you have to talk to people… When you go to acong>ofong>fee shop or to a bookstore, start talking to someone. Some people help whenthey see that you are trying to pick their language. Go to the mall, wherever, starttalking to anybody, it doesn’t hurt. What can happen? They are not going to punishyou if you make a mistake.As in the above excerpts, some native speakers were helpful ong>andong>considered non-native speakers worthy interlocutors who made an effort to learnan additional language. To imply that all native speakers avoid interactions withnon-native speakers would be stereotyping.All participants took charge ong>ofong> their language learning process ong>andong> wereresourceful ong>andong> perseverant in finding everyday-life environments where theycould acquire English in a naturalistic way. They showed great human agency intheir efforts to get access to opportunities to practice the target language withnative speakers in everyday-life situations.2. Cultivating extroversion/outgoingnessThe participants who were not naturally outgoing or extroverted realizedthat they could compensate for their personality style through their attitude, by78


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008getting out ong>ofong> their comfort zone, overcoming avoidance ong>andong> fear, ong>andong> welcomingsocial interaction in English:Participant: In the beginning, the first few years, I was so afraid to speak…When Iwas in the playground with my child ong>andong> somebody came by ong>andong> started to speak,that was like the signal for me to go home, because I was so ashamed. I wanted tosound perfect, I wanted to speak the same way I spoke my first language ong>andong> Iknew my English wasn’t at the same level, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, soI was running away, but now I’m not scared anymore.Most interviewees considered themselves more extrovert than introvertong>andong> most ong>ofong> them defined their personality using words such as outgoing,outspoken, talkative, ong>andong> friendly:Participant: I am outgoing, I reach out, like I meet people on the bus ong>andong> talk tothem. I am comfortable talking to people from everywhere: Canada, India,everybody, ong>andong> I find interesting topics. So in the past 5 years, I have improved alot. Now, I feel quite comfortable to talk about everything.Extroversion was not an innate characteristic ong>ofong> all participants. Someimmigrants defined themselves as naturally outgoing ong>andong> outspoken, while otherscultivated an outgoing behaviour in order to improve their English.Instead ong>ofong> becoming introverted ong>andong> sensitive to rejection, participantscultivated outgoingness ong>andong> extroversion, in spite ong>ofong> being at times rejected orignored. They adopted an “extroverted persona” that allowed them to be someoneother than themselves ong>andong> understood that this consciously deployed manoeuvrewould advance their English.3. Taking risks in speaking EnglishAnother characteristic that most participants considered as an importantfactor for developing high communicative ability in a second language is the abilityto take risks in speaking English in natural environments. Without experimentingwith the new words in various contexts, it is virtually impossible to gain high Englishprong>ofong>iciency. Several participants emphasized that in order to learn how to use thewords properly, one needs to take risks in conversations ong>andong> overcome the fear ong>ofong>making mistakes. Moreover, one needs to be resilient, tenacious, ong>andong> courageous,make a conscious effort not to get discouraged by jokes about one’s languagemistakes, ong>andong> believe that things will get better.79


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Participant: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just go out ong>andong> speak. If you don’tknow something, just ask, ong>andong> ask people to correct you, don’t hide like I did for afew years, but now I’m not hiding any more. Like what can happen, if you make amistake?For some participants, risk-taking implied avoiding isolation in a shelteredfirst language environment ong>andong> getting involved in various social situations thatrequire frequent second language use to accomplish communicative tasks. Forother participants, risk taking meant experimenting with word uses ong>andong> becomingcomfortable when ridiculed by native speakers for making mistakes or usingawkward lexical combinations. The highly prong>ofong>icient second language speakersinterviewed went through an experimental phase, in which they made a consciouseffort to be proactive ong>andong> learned to accept or disregard jokes ong>andong> ridicule.Participant: Oh, another piece ong>ofong> advice, take risks ong>andong> use the words, even ifyou’re not sure ong>ofong> what they mean. People may make fun ong>ofong> you or joke. Thathappened to me many times. It happened, but you just have to be persistent, Iguess, ong>andong> continue to take risks. My English has improved a lot because I took somany risks in using words.From the perspective ong>ofong> many participants, shedding one’s inhibitions,developing a relatively ‘thick skin’, ong>andong> risking the possibility ong>ofong> making mistakes isthe only way high oral prong>ofong>iciency can be achieved ong>andong> this requires perseveranceong>andong> persistence.The data ong>ofong> this study corroborate Ely’s (1986) research findings that risktakinghas a positive impact on second language prong>ofong>iciency, as these learners tryout or practice words or expressions they are not completely sure ong>ofong>. In contrast,the findings are inconsistent with the research claim that successful secondlanguage learners are moderate or calculated risk-takers who only experiment withwords or expressions they have learned (Beebe, 1983), as they do not want to bethe target ong>ofong> ridicule. The successful second language speakers interviewed for thisstudy reported that their approach was to keep taking risks in spite ong>ofong> beingoccasionally ridiculed for imprecise lexical use.4. Second language immersionAn important aspect that came up in the interviews is the awareness that,in order to be successful, one really has to switch mental gears ong>andong> get to enjoy80


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008‘doing things in English’, not only to make a living, but actually to live at least partong>ofong> their private life immersed in a naturalistic English-speaking environment:Participant: The most important thing would be English immersion. Do not liveisolated in your first language environment. If you have only friends who speakyour first language, then your chances ong>ofong> improving your English are quite slim. Tryto speak English every day at least for a few hours, not only at work, ong>andong> read thenews, listen to the radio, watch TV, do something that you really like, find a hobby,but do it in English.Most participants acknowledged that it was not enough to use thelanguage for pragmatic or job-related purposes, but that it was essential to be ‘inthe language’, even in one’s leisure time:Participant: One has to be in the language as they say … Now I am really in thelanguage, as I have lots ong>ofong> Canadian friends ong>andong> my children have Canadian friends.Participants felt that the more advanced their second language prong>ofong>iciencylevel became, the more access they gained to English native-speaking interlocutorsong>andong> friends willing to communicate with them in English.The majority ong>ofong> participants did not go to the extreme ong>ofong> giving up theirfirst language at home, but stated that they used English for at least 75% ong>ofong> theirtime. As an average, they reported that they were immersed in English for at leasteight hours a day for their job or studies. In addition, they also reported usingEnglish for other non-job-related activities for at least one-two hours a day.5. Securing employment that requires a high level ong>ofong> communicativecompetenceIn the last decade, many companies across Canada ong>andong> particularly Albertahave been hiring more immigrants with lower English prong>ofong>iciency than before, dueto the booming economy ong>andong> workforce shortage. The strong market demong>andong>sdetermined many employers to hire internationally-educated prong>ofong>essionals withstrong technical expertise, but relatively low English prong>ofong>iciency. Many participantsin this study secured employment for which they did not have sufficient languageprong>ofong>iciency in the beginning. They were hired for their prong>ofong>essional knowledge ong>andong>given the opportunity to improve their English on the job. A recurrent attitudeexpressed in the interviews was the willingness to learn, the desire to overcomeobstacles, ong>andong> the courage to place themselves in challenging work situations:81


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Participant: One ong>ofong> the best things I’ve done to improve my English was to take atechnical sales job where I was forced to present ong>andong> describe my products, findnew words ong>andong> new tricks to sell the products. I made my livelihood by using thelanguage.A recurrent verb that speaks volumes about the impact ong>ofong> the workenvironment on second language prong>ofong>iciency gains is ‘forced’. Many participantsfound themselves ‘forced’ to improve their language in order to meet thechallenging expectations ong>ofong> a job that required a high level ong>ofong> communicativecompetence ong>andong> a lot ong>ofong> interaction. Instead ong>ofong> despairing or admitting that thecommunicative demong>andong>s were too high for their language abilities, they took thechallenge ong>andong> used the work environment as a powerful motivator ong>andong> anopportunity to improve their language.Many participants noted that the best thing they did to improve theirEnglish was to ‘jump into the deep end ong>ofong> the pool’, by deliberately puttingthemselves into a work environment where they did not comprehend enough ong>andong>were not able to communicate effectively in the beginning. They constantlycompensated for their low English skills, by putting in many extra hours tocomplete the tasks, understong>andong> the work requirements, ong>andong> look up the wordsthey did not know. As a result, they experienced a steep second language learningcurve in the first two years ong>ofong> their employment.6. Seeking communication with English native-speaking co-workersWork interactions with English native-speaking co-workers were viewed asa sure way ong>ofong> improving one’s communicative ability:Participant: Interacting with highly responsible native-speaking prong>ofong>essionals in82different capacities helped me improve my English. I benefited from a high level ong>ofong>interaction with very qualified ong>andong>, most ong>ofong> the time, native prong>ofong>essionals.The opposite ong>ofong> the above scenario was also mentioned in the interviews. Ajob that requires very little ong>andong> stereotypical verbal interaction was perceived asmore likely to hinder rather than facilitate the development ong>ofong> adequate Englishprong>ofong>iciency:Participant: If you sit in an ong>ofong>fice ong>andong> all you do is work on a computer, notinterfacing with anybody, ong>ofong> course you’re not going to learn anything. Behind thecomputer you are not going to learn to communicate, as you have to interact withpeople... I know smart people who have been here for ten years ong>andong> still haven’timproved their English because they have job behind a computer, in a cubicle ...


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Participant: Improving your English depends on the nature ong>ofong> your job. If you havea job as a designer ong>andong> you just speak for 5 minutes with your supervisor everyday, using the same vocabulary, getting the same instructions every day, you arenot going to improve your English.One ong>ofong> the conditions for verbal communication to take place is thatinterlocutors regard each other as worthy to speak ong>andong> listen (Bourdieu, 1977,Norton, 2000). Participants in this study managed to commong>andong> the attention ong>ofong>their listeners ong>andong> impose reception in order to be regarded by native speakers asworthy to speak. Interestingly, it was not the quality ong>ofong> their language, but theirhuman experiences ong>andong> perceptions that commong>andong>ed the attention ong>ofong> their nativespeakinginterlocutors.Participant: The first year I came to Canada, I worked in a warehouse. My Englishimproved a lot, because I used to initiate discussions ong>andong> come up with interestingtopics to make native speakers talk to me...Participant: I used to tell my Canadian co-workers all kinds ong>ofong> stories about my lifein my native country ong>andong> they were curious to find out more. My English wasn’tvery good but my stories were captivating. Then they opened up ong>andong> told mestories about their lives ong>andong> I learnt a lot about Canadian culture ong>andong> way ong>ofong> living.Participants’ perceptions ong>ofong> their second language acquisition in theworkplace emphasize the importance ong>ofong> human agency, resourcefulness, ong>andong>willpower in claiming their right to learn ong>andong> speak the target language ong>andong> inasserting their life experiences, knowledge, ong>andong> cultural capital as worthy ong>ofong> beingshared.Summary ong>andong> ConclusionsBoth instructed ong>andong> naturalistic second language acquisition in everydaylifeenvironments ong>andong> workplaces were perceived to advance lexical developmentong>andong> language prong>ofong>iciency gains. Participants invested in continuing their educationas a strategy for gaining access to symbolic ong>andong> material resources in their adoptivesociety. They were very creative ong>andong> meta-cognitively aware in adjusting thenatural environment to optimally respond to their evolving learning needs.Opportunities to practice English in natural environments were not easily availableto them, but they were ingenious ong>andong> daring in their approaches ong>andong> realized thatit was important to find ways to talk to native speakers.83


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008They cultivated extroversion in spite ong>ofong> being at times rejected or ignoredong>andong> kept taking risks in using English regardless ong>ofong> being occasionally ridiculed forimprecise lexical use. All participants felt that they finally managed to imposereception ong>andong> make native speakers consider them worthy interlocutors. Theygradually earned the status ong>ofong> competent second language speakers ong>andong> assertedtheir life experiences, perceptions, ong>andong> knowledge as worthy ong>ofong> being shared.The highly prong>ofong>icient second language learners who participated in thisstudy possess an innate awareness ong>ofong> how to make the most ong>ofong> the situationalfactors available to them, which settings to choose ong>andong> immerse in (classrooms,naturalistic settings, or work environments). In addition, they are endowed withthe tenacity to consistently activate the combination ong>ofong> factors that they havediscovered to be beneficial, while remaining open to new insights ong>andong>opportunities ong>andong> recalibrating their approaches to adjust to their evolvinglanguage levels.The three underlying psychological forces that participants have used toactivate a unique combination ong>ofong> situational factors are awareness ong>ofong> the availableresources, ingenuity in gaining access to them, ong>andong> tenacity to consistently employthem in order to advance from intermediate to high second language prong>ofong>iciency.REFERENCESBatstone, R. “Contexts ong>ofong> engagement: A discourse perspective on “intake” ong>andong> “pushed output,”System, 30 (2002): 1–14.Beebe, L. M. “Risk-taking ong>andong> the second language learner” in Classroom oriented research insecond language acquisition, ed. Seliger & Long, (Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1983)Bourdieu, Pierre. “The economics ong>ofong> linguistic exchanges,” Social Science Information 16 (1977):645-668.Boyd, M. “Immigrant women: Language, socioeconomic inequalities, ong>andong> policy issues,” In Ethnicdemography – Canadian immigrant: Racial ong>andong> cultural variations, ed. S. Halli, F. Trovatoong>andong> L. Driedger (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1990). 275-295.Chiswick, B., & Miller, P. “Earnings in Canada: The roles ong>ofong> immigrant generation, French ethnicityong>andong> language,” ong>Researchong> in Population Economics 6 (1988): 183-224.Crookes, G. “SLA ong>andong> language pedagogy: A socio-educational perspective,” ong>Studiesong> in SecondLanguage Acquisition 1, (1997): 93–116.Cummins, Jim. Negotiating identities: Education for empowerment in a diverse society. Ontario, CA:California Association for Bilingual Education, 1996.DeSilva, A. “Earnings ong>ofong> immigrant classes in the early 1980s in Canada: A re-examination,”Canadian Public Policy 23 (February 1997): 179-199.Duffy, A. New immigrants are faring worse than previous generations, study discovers. Inong>Migrationong> News, 2000. Database online. Available at84


The Case ong>ofong> Adult Immigrants to Canada Learning EnglishJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008http://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=2087_0_2_0 in 01/06/2004.Ellis, R. Instructed second language acquisition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990.Ely, C. “An analysis ong>ofong> discomfort, risktaking, sociability, ong>andong> motivation in the second languageclassroom,” Language Learning 36 (1986): 238-244.Firth, A., & Wagner, J. “On discourse, communication, ong>andong> (some) fundamental concepts in SLAresearch,” Modern Language ong>Journalong> 81 (1997): 285–300.Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge. Selected interviews ong>andong> other writings 1972-1977, C. Gordon(trans.). New York: Pantheon Books, 1980.Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. L. The Discovery ong>ofong> Grounded Theory. Chicago: Aldine, 1967.Hymes, Dell. Reinventing anthropology. New York: Rong>andong>om House, 1972.Krashen, Stephen. Principles ong>andong> practice in second language acquisition. Oxford: Pergamon Press,1982.Long, M. Construct validity in SLA research: A response to Firth ong>andong> Wagner. Modern Languageong>Journalong> 81 (1997): 318–323.Mazumdar, R. “Coming here was a mistake: Skilled immigrants who can’t get work in their trainedprong>ofong>essions end up frustrated ong>andong> dispirited,” Calgary Herald, 17 May 2004, A13.Norton, Bonnie. ong>Identityong> ong>andong> language learning: Gender, ethnicity ong>andong> educational change. Harlow,Englong>andong>: Longman/Pearson Education, 2000.Pendakur, K., & Pendakur, R. “Speak ong>andong> ye shall receive: Language knowledge as human capital,”RIIM Working Paper. Simon Fraser University, ong>Centreong> for Excellence: ong>Researchong> onImmigration ong>andong> Integration in the Metropolis (1997): 97-100.Platt, E. & Brooks, F. B. “The “acquisition-rich environment” revisited,” The Modern Languageong>Journalong> (1994): 497-511.Seale, Clieve. “Generating grounded theory”. In ong>Researchong>ing Society ong>andong> Culture. Seale Clive,(London: Sage, 2004). 239-248.Spolsky, Bernard. Conditions for Second Language Learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.Statistics Canada. Second Wave ong>ofong> the Longitudinal Survey ong>ofong> Immigrants to Canada, 2003.Database online. Available at http://www.statcan.ca// in 11/04/2008.Statistics Canada. Canada's Immigrant Labour Market, 2005. Database online. Available athttp://www.statcan.ca// in 11/04/2008.Statistics Canada. Immigration in Canada: A Portrait ong>ofong> the Foreign-born Population, 2006 Census.Available at http://www.statcan.ca// in 11/04/2008.Watt D. L. E. & Lake D. Benchmarking adult rates ong>ofong> second language acquisition: how long ong>andong>how fast? Calgary: University ong>ofong> Calgary, 2004.APPENDIX A: Sample Interview Questions1. What is your current in Canada job? What was your occupation prior toimmigrating to Canada?2. How long have been working as a prong>ofong>essional in Canada?3. How would you describe your current level ong>ofong> English as compared to when youfirst came to Canada?4. Why do you think you were able to improve your English up to an advanced level?5. What are the environmental factors to which you attribute your success inacquiring high English prong>ofong>iciency?6. How did you take advantage or shape the environment to improve your English?7. How did you encounter opportunities to practice ong>andong> improve your English?85


Andreea CERVATIUCJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 20088. How did you encounter opportunities to practice ong>andong> improve your English?APPENDIX B: Background Information Questionnaire1. Your Pseudonym _________________ 2. Date ____________________3. Age ______ 4. Gender______ 5. Mother tongue ____________6. Language(s) you speak at home _______________________________________7. Highest level ong>ofong> education attained: ____________________________________8. Occupation in Canada: ______________________________________________9. Occupation in your home country10. How long did you study English before you came to Canada? _______________11. How long have you been in Canada? __________________________________12. How old were you when you arrived in Canada? _________________________13. Do you speak other languages? (Circle one) Yes No14. How many hours a day do you use English? ____________________86


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008Representation ong>ofong> Refugees, Asylum-Seekers ong>andong> RefugeeAffairs In Hungarian DailiesLilla VICSEKRolong>andong> KESZIMarcell MÁRKUSAbstract. How does the press in Hungary write about refugees, asylum-seekers ong>andong> refugeeaffairs? We sought to answer this question. Articles appearing in 2005 ong>andong> 2006 in twoleading national Hungarian dailies were examined with quantitative content analysis. Theresults show that the articles analyzed ong>ofong>ten treat refugee affairs as an “ong>ofong>ficial” politicalmatter. The high proportion ong>ofong> legislation ong>andong> political positions conveys the image thatrefugee affairs are a state or intergovernmental matter, an “ong>ofong>ficial”, legal, political issuerather than for example a humanitarian question. Most ong>ofong> the articles published in bothpapers write about problems ong>andong> conflicts in connection with refugee affairs. The negativemedia image has different significance for different topics. We argue that the question ong>ofong>refugee affairs is a topic where the image shown by the media is ong>ofong> great relevance: themedia can be a more important source ong>ofong> information on this subject than personalcontacts.Keywords: refugee, asylum seeker, refugee affairs, Hungary, press, media analysis, contentanalysisThe concept ong>ofong> international migration attracts special attention not onlyfrom the social sciences. Demography, cultural anthropology, economics,jurisprudence ong>andong> their related disciplines, as well as the approaches arising fromthe combination ong>ofong> these sciences are all producing a mass ong>ofong> theories ong>andong>research on the subject. There is no uniform, comprehensive theory ong>ofong>international migration, instead a predominance ong>ofong> middle-range theories isfound in this area. These largely arose independently ong>ofong> each other, some ong>ofong>them as an answer to specific empirical research problems. “However, thepatterns ong>andong> trends appearing in immigration indicate that we cannot draw onthe tools ong>ofong> any one single discipline for an understong>andong>ing ong>ofong> the present87


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008migration process or concentrate our analysis on only a single level” (Massey et.al. 2001:9).Within the broad topic ong>ofong> migration, our 2005-2006 research projectfocused on the question ong>ofong> Hungarian refugee affairs. The different researchblocks applied different social scientific approaches (economics, sociology,psychology, jurisprudence) ong>andong> consequently also used differing methods. As aresult, our research can be regarded as interdisciplinary. An element ong>ofong> theresearch project was a press analysis. It examined how refugee affairs, refugeesong>andong> asylum-seekers are represented in the Hungarian press 1 . We present theresults ong>ofong> the media analysis in this article.We stress two closely related characteristics ong>ofong> the role played byHungary in international migration – from the viewpoint ong>ofong> our theme – whichunderline the justification for our analysis. One is the high level even byinternational comparison ong>ofong> xenophobia present in Hungarian society, a fact longknown to sociologists (Czene 2002; Enyedi, Fábián & Sík 2004), ong>andong> the other, afact known to both demographers ong>andong> experts dealing with refugee affairs, is thatHungary is a transit country for asylum seekers which partly explains why thenumber ong>ofong> asylum seekers ong>andong> refugees in the country is low in comparison, forexample, to countries ong>ofong> Western Europe. Because ong>ofong> the low proportion withinthe Hungarian population ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs, the media arethe main source ong>ofong> information for the general public on refugee affairs. In thisway the existing high level ong>ofong> xenophobia ong>andong> the low level ong>ofong> personal socialinteractions with refugees both confirm the importance ong>ofong> getting to know theimage ong>ofong> refugee affairs in the Hungarian press.In the course ong>ofong> the media analysis we examined two leading nationalHungarian dailies (Népszabadság, Magyar Nemzet). Our analysis examined whatimage the articles appearing in the dailies convey ong>ofong> the question. Articles1 The research on “Independently-with equal opportunities" was conducted under the“N.E.E.D.S. Network, Education, Employment, (Anti)Discrimination, Socialisation”EQUAL Program in the implementation stage ong>ofong> the “Support for the social ong>andong> labourmarket integration ong>ofong> asylum seekers” action. It was co-ordinated by the KROLIFY Opinionong>andong> Organisation ong>Researchong> Institute. The authors wish to express their gratitude to Judit Pálwho selected the articles ong>andong> Petra Arnold who helped in the elaboration ong>ofong> code commong>andong>song>andong> the final selection ong>ofong> articles ong>andong> also made valuable observations on the analysis.Thanks are also due to Brigitta Font who participated in the elaboration ong>ofong> earlier versions ong>ofong>the analysis ong>andong> to András Kováts ong>andong> Zoltán Klenner for useful comments on earlierversions ong>ofong> this article.88


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008appearing in the course ong>ofong> 2005 ong>andong> 2006 formed the basis ong>ofong> our investigation.We used the method ong>ofong> quantitative content analysis to examine the articles 2 .The representation ong>ofong> refugee affairs in the mediaA great deal ong>ofong> research has been carried out on the media ong>andong> on itsrepresentation ong>ofong> minorities. For the most part the various Hungarian ong>andong> foreignstudies have reached similar conclusions: the media usually present minorities ina stereotyped way ong>andong> in connection with negative topics (Vicsek, 1997;Terestyéni, 2004; Ligeti, 2007; Hargreaves, 1995; van Dijk, 1991; Finney &Robinson, 2007). Moreover, the coverage ong>ofong> minorities can be linked mainly to afew topics, such as immigration, crime, cultural differences ong>andong> ethnic/racerelations (Finney – Robinson 2007).Less research has been done specifically in connection with the topic ong>ofong>migration ong>andong> refugee affairs, ong>andong> most ong>ofong> what has been done is the work ong>ofong>British ong>andong> American researchers. Foreign investigations have found that in mostcases the media present immigration ong>andong> the existence ong>ofong> asylum as a problem orsomething threatening the host country. As a result the key themes arerestricting the rights ong>ofong> immigrants, the burden on the welfare state ong>andong> thedishonesty ong>ofong> the migrants. Bach found that the media focus more on conflictsthan on ethnic harmony; ong>andong> they rarely obtain information from members ong>ofong> theethnic minorities. The British media ong>ofong>ten use certain words ong>andong> expressions –generally having a negative connotation – in connection with asylum seekers,such as flood, wave, bogus, cheat (Finney – Robinson 2007, Tait et al. 2004).Typically British reports on asylum seekers do not mention why the asylumseekers go to the United Kingdom or the circumstances in which they travel ong>andong>live, ong>andong> rarely allow persons involved in refugee affairs to speak for themselves(Philo - Beattie 1999, Finney – Robinson 2007).At the same time some researchers have shown that there are paperswhich paint a more positive picture ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs, writingabout them in the first person plural ong>andong> regarding them as part ong>ofong> the localcommunity. Finney ong>andong> Robinson (2007) compared the refugee image in two2 The present article contains part ong>ofong> the results ong>ofong> our quantitative content analysis. We alsoperformed qualitative text analysis, but the results ong>ofong> that analysis are not presented in thisarticle.89


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008British local papers ong>andong> found that one presents a more positive picture ong>ofong>refugees, interviews them more ong>ofong>ten ong>andong> treats them as part ong>ofong> the community.Other research projects also found that a more balanced treatment is more likelyto be found among the local papers with more precise reports about refugees,while the national dailies tend to use more hostile language. Nevertheless manylocal papers also paint a largely negative picture ong>ofong> refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers(Speers 2001).One ong>ofong> the modes ong>ofong> treatment found in the dailies is to present the topicong>ofong> refugee affairs as an ong>ofong>ficial matter. An analysis examining Welsh media in2000, for example, found that the Welsh media used a less hostile tone than theBritish national press in articles on refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers, but approachedtopics related to them as “ong>ofong>ficial” matters. Refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers aretreated as figures: financial costs, statistics. There are very few articles about whypeople seek asylum. As a result asylum seekers are given little opportunity toexpress their opinions or tell their own stories (Speers 2001). Another factorpotentially influencing the representation ong>ofong> refugee affairs in the press iswhether an article appears in a political paper or a tabloid, in what region ong>ofong> thegiven country, in a liberal or conservative paper (Van Gorp 2005).A research project prepared ong>andong> conducted by the Kurt Lewin Foundationong>andong> three foreign research institutes examined the representation in the mediaong>ofong> minorities, immigrants ong>andong> refugees in four countries. The print ong>andong> visualmedia in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia ong>andong> Hungary over a period ong>ofong> onemonth in 2006 were examined, largely using the methods ong>ofong> qualitative contentanalysis. Although articles on immigrants ong>andong> refugees made up only a tinyproportion ong>ofong> the research material because the media dealt mainly with thetopic ong>ofong> minorities, we nevertheless consider it relevant to present here a few ong>ofong>their findings. The investigation ong>ofong> the print press revealed a striking differencebetween the press organs ong>ofong> Hungary ong>andong> ong>ofong> the three other countries. In thelatter three countries the dividing line was between the tabloid press ong>andong> thequality papers, while in Hungary it lies between the left-wing ong>andong> the right-wingpress. They found that the Hungarian right-wing daily Magyar Nemzet printsarticles reflecting a strong preconception, mainly regarding Gypsies but also onother minorities. A good example ong>ofong> this is that it declared the lack ong>ofong> civilisationamong the Gypsies to be the cause ong>ofong> the incident in Olaszliszka, referred to the90


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Slovaks by the derogatory term “tót” ong>andong> to the Germans in Hungary as “sváb”,as though to evoke nostalgia for the Hungary ong>ofong> the pre-war years (Ligeti 2007).Éva Kovács ong>andong> Borbála Kriza (2004) examined the press representation inthree different years – 1945, 1990 ong>andong> 2000 – using quantitative methods. Theyanalysed the articles on foreigners ong>andong> minorities appearing in six Hungarianpapers (both weeklies ong>andong> dailies). They found that the papers devotedinsignificant attention to the question ong>ofong> refugees, especially in the years 1990ong>andong> 2000 3 .The researchMethodology ong>ofong> the researchWe analysed all articles from the print versions ong>ofong> Népszabadság ong>andong>Magyar Nemzet between January 1, 2005 ong>andong> December 31, 2006 4 , that met thefollowing three criteria:1. The article included one ong>ofong> the expressions from refugee affairs ormigration affairs from the list compiled by us 5 ;2. Its content is connected to the question ong>ofong> refugee affairs 6 .3Although, unlike the Kurt Lewin Foundation they examined the press material ong>ofong> a wholeyear not just a month, they took samples from the issues published. As a result, the numberong>ofong> articles in the sample dealing specifically with refugees is very small, especially for theyears 1990 ong>andong> 2000.4The selection was made on the basis ong>ofong> search words – in the online database ong>ofong> MagyarNemzet, ong>andong> in the Népszabadság (not online) database that can only be used on the spot. Wethen selected articles that appeared in the print versions ong>ofong> the two papers.5The migration affairs expressions were included among the search words because ithappened in many cases that the author used a migration affairs expression when, in fact,he/she actually meant a person involved in refugee affairs, for example, calling asylumseekers illegal immigrants. This same inappropriate or imprecise use ong>ofong> expressions alsocharacterises everyday speech. If terms from migration affairs had not been included amongthe search words, articles concerning the theme ong>ofong> refugee affairs but referring to persons inrefugee affairs with migration affairs or other expressions would not have been included inthe population studied ong>andong> so the validity ong>ofong> the research would have been reduced.6Articles with a content that placed them in the focus ong>ofong> the research formed the object ong>ofong>the analysis. Articles not touching on the theme but containing one ong>ofong> the above refugeeaffairs or migrant affairs expressions as an adjective or phrase, such as “People practicallyfled from Pest at the weekend”, “The shopping centre is a real refuge”, etc. were not includedin the population examined. Nor did we include articles about persons who fled from the91


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 20083. It discusses refugee affairs in more than one sentence.In Hungary an imprecise use ong>ofong> concepts related to refugee affairs canbe observed in common usage. In this article we use the legal meaning ong>ofong> theconcepts; in the course ong>ofong> the investigation we defined the main concepts usedin the investigation on the basis ong>ofong> the Hungarian legislation (Act No. CXXXIX ong>ofong>1997 on Asylum, Government Decree No. 172/2001. (IX. 26.), Kalmár 2001) 7 .Applying the above criteria, we found 149 articles; these formed theobject ong>ofong> the analysis. The data were analysed by quantitative content analysis(Krippendorf 1995). The papers analysed are two major national Hungariong>andong>ailies. Népszabadság is generally more left wing in its political orientation,while Magyar Nemzet is a right-wing, conservative paper.Results ong>ofong> the ong>Researchong>Number ong>ofong> articles ong>andong> their distribution over timeA total ong>ofong> 149 articles in the two papers touched on the subject ong>ofong>refugee affairs. We estimated that in the period concerned a total ong>ofong> roughly130,000 articles appeared in the newspapers examined. It can be seen that onlya tiny percentage ong>ofong> the articles dealt with the question ong>ofong> refugee affairs. Thiscan be explained in part by the narrow definition ong>ofong> the theme: we included inthe analysis only those articles that touched on the theme in more than onesentence ong>andong> we took the legal concept ong>ofong> refugee affairs as our basis (thenumber ong>ofong> publications examined would have been greater if we had includedamong the articles analysed, for example those dealing with persons fleeingfrom natural catastrophes) 8 . Partly it is also obviously due to the fact that thenumber ong>ofong> articles which appeared on the topic ong>ofong> refugee affairs is very smallin both papers: in 2005 ong>andong> 2006 only a few articles touched on the theme ong>ofong>given country because ong>ofong> a natural catastrophe (or stayed in the country in camps set up forthem).7For the process ong>ofong> the refugee affairs procedure, see,http://www.bmbah.hu/ugyintezes_eljarasrend.php?id=30, accessed on March 16.2007.8 The choice ong>ofong> a narrow theme – using the legal meaning ong>ofong> refugee affairs – for the presentresearch was determined by the aims ong>ofong> the broader EQUAL project within the frames ong>ofong>which our investigation was carried out.92


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008refugee affairs. If we compare the percentage ong>ofong> the articles with the results ong>ofong>other research projects, we find that it is typical not only in Hungary but also inother countries that only a tiny percentage touch on the subject (Tait et al,2004; Speers, 2001). Of the two daily papers examined, Népszabadságpublished more articles on the subject than Magyar Nemzet, ong>andong> more articlesappeared in 2005 than in 2006.Table 1: Number ong>ofong> articles dealing with refugee affairs in the two dailies in2005 ong>andong> 2006MagyarNemzetYear ong>ofong> publication2005 2006Number ong>ofong>articles%(N=89)Numberong>ofong> articles%(N=60)TotalNumber ong>ofong>articles%(N=149)38 42.7% 20 33.3% 58 38.9%Népszabadság 51 57.3% 40 66.7% 91 61.1%Total 89 100.0% 60 100.0% 149 100.0%The distribution ong>ofong> the articles – shown in the diagram below – isrelated to various events covered in the press. In January 2005 a new centre forthe reception ong>ofong> foreign minors was opened in Nagykanizsa ong>andong> the question ong>ofong>stricter immigration laws arose in the run-up to the elections in Great Britain. InJuly the revolution in Uzbekistan broke out. When Uzbek refugees “filled” therefugee camps in neighbouring Kyrgyzia, they were transported to Romania.Also in July large numbers ong>ofong> Roma from Slovakia sought asylum in the CzechRepublic Many articles appeared in October when the struggles around the twoSpanish cities in Africa, Melilla és Ceuta, were the most embittered. Asylum -seekers “attacked” the high walls around the two cities to submit theirapplications for asylum in territory under European jurisdiction.In 2006 two main themes dominated the Hungarian print press inconnection with refugee affairs. One was the anniversary ong>ofong> the 1956revolution; a number ong>ofong> articles appeared in connection with Hungarianrefugees at that time. Another major theme was the travel to Sweden by Romafamilies from Baranya ong>andong> Tolna Counties. They took economy flights to Malmöin Sweden to submit applications for asylum. Népszabadság discussed the93


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008exodus ong>ofong> Roma families to Sweden in far more articles than Magyar Nemzet. Incontrast the latter paper carried more articles than Népszabadság in theautumn months on refugee affairs in connection with the 1956 revolution inHungary.Figure 1: Monthly distribution ong>ofong> the articles (frequencies)General characteristics ong>ofong> the content ong>ofong> the articlesThe second table shows the countries appearing in the articles on refugeeaffairs in the two papers. It can be seen that in both cases a substantial percentageong>ofong> the articles write about Hungary ong>andong> the EU member countries.Around a quarter ong>ofong> the articles in both papers mention Hungary as countryong>ofong> destination. Hungary also figured in the news as a country ong>ofong> origin; most ong>ofong> thearticles in this category dealt with the exodus ong>ofong> Romas to Sweden ong>andong> with the1956 refugees. The most frequently mentioned countries ong>ofong> destination are EUmember countries other than Hungary (there are 86 such articles in thenewspapers).94


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Table 2: Countries discussed in the articlesNewspaperMagyar Nemzet NépszabadságNumberNumberong>ofong>articles% 9(N=58)ong>ofong>articles%(N=91)The article writes (also) ingeneral, not (only) specifically3 5.2% 6 6.6%about Writes the (also) situation about in the one EU ormore situation countries in general, not (only) 10 17.2% 9 9.9%about the situation in specificallynamed countries country ong>ofong> origin 9 15.5% 18 19.8%Hungary as… transit country 2 3.4% 6 6.6%EU country /countriesexceptHungary as…Non-EUdevelopedcountry as…Non-EUdevelopingcountry as …destination 13 22.4% 22 24.2%country ong>ofong> origin 1 1.7% 1 1.1%transit country 2 3.4% 4 4.4%destination 33 56.9% 53 58.2%country ong>ofong> origin 0 0.0% 0 0.0%transit country 0 0.0% 0 0.0%destination 6 10.3% 13 14.3%country ong>ofong> origin 8 13.8% 19 20.9%transit country 0 0.0% 2 2.2%destination 0 0.0% 5 5.5%We examined the themes that appear in the articles.Taking into account all the themes, law ong>andong> politics appear most frequentlyin the articles on refugee affairs, followed by crime/deviant behaviour. These arefollowed by the labour market, ong>andong> questions ong>ofong> financial situation/aid.9Several countries may have appeared in the articles ong>andong> in more than one way. For thisreason, the figures given in the percentage column add up to more than 100%.95


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Laws, regulations ong>andong> political positions on refugee affairs occur as a themein more than half ong>ofong> the articles (in 80), indicating that to a considerable extentjournalists regard questions touching on refugees ong>andong> asylum-seekers to be legal,political, “ong>ofong>ficial” themes. This result is in line with the finding ong>ofong> an earlierresearch analysing the contents ong>ofong> Welsh newspapers.That investigation also found that the media treat questions related torefugees ong>andong> asylum-seekers as “ong>ofong>ficial” affairs (Speers, 2001). These articlesdiscussed the activities ong>ofong> political parties ong>andong> touched on questions concerning theimmigration policy ong>ofong> different countries or the EU (efforts to makechanges/amendments, generally with restrictions), ong>andong> intergovernmental talks onrefugee affairs.There were frequent references to different laws ong>andong> regulations.Specifically the authors mentioned the Geneva convention (the criteria forobtaining refugee status) ong>andong> the Dublin agreement (which states that the refugeeaffairs procedure must be conducted in the EU member state where the asylumseekerfirst applied for refugee status). The other references to regulations weremade in general terms (for example, “under the regulations in force” 10 ).The theme ong>ofong> crime/deviant behaviour occurred with a very high (38%)incidence. A considerable part ong>ofong> the coverage falling in this category was about theasylum-seekers rushing on Melilla ong>andong> Ceuta, the two Spanish cities in Africa, thesoldiers attacking them with rubber bullets ong>andong> their expulsion in buses. Somereports wrote about local disturbances that broke out either between localresidents ong>andong> immigrants or between two different ethnic groups.The high incidence ong>ofong> the themes ong>ofong> crime ong>andong> deviance is in line with theresults ong>ofong> British research by Tait et al., where expressions such as “horde”,“rabble” clearly referring to deviant behaviour were frequently found in articles onrefugee affairs (Tait et al, 2004). A comparison ong>ofong> Magyar Nemzet ong>andong>Népszabadság shows that the conservative Magyar Nemzet more ong>ofong>ten touches onthe question ong>ofong> deviant behaviour in connection with the theme ong>ofong> refugee affairs.10Esélyprogram menekülteknek [Chance programme for refugees], Népszabadság, April 9,2005. p. 7.96


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Table 3: Themes occurring in the articlesNewspaperTotalMagyar Nemzet Népszabadság Number ong>ofong> %Number ong>ofong>articles% 11(N=58)Number ong>ofong>articles%(N=91)articles (N=149)Law, politics 31 53.4% 49 53.8% 80 53.7%Crime, deviantbehaviourLabour marketsituation, economicactivityFinancial situation,support, aidDemography,populationSituation ong>ofong> receivingstation, hostel,refugee campIndividual case, lifehistoryRelations formed withhost society,integration25 43.1% 30 33.0% 55 36.9%12 20.7% 22 24.2% 34 22.8%10 17.2% 23 25.3% 33 22.1%8 13.8% 16 17.6% 24 16.1%7 12.1% 15 16.5% 22 14.8%4 6.9% 16 17.6% 20 13.4%5 8.6% 14 15.4% 19 12.8%Catastrophe, scong>andong>al 6 10.3% 4 4.4% 10 6.7%School, education, 3 5.2% 11 12.1% 14 9.4%coursesHousing affairs, 5 8.6% 4 4.4% 9 6.0%homeless affairsHealth status 3 5.2% 6 6.6% 9 6.0%Art, culture, book 5 8.6% 2 2.2% 7 4.7%11Several themes may appear in individual articles. For this reason the percentage figuresgiven in the table add up to more than 100%.97


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The themes ong>ofong> labour market situation ong>andong> financial situation/aid appearsomewhat less frequently, in around one quarter ong>ofong> the articles. These themes are presentwith much greater emphasis in articles published in 2006 than in 2005 (while barely 8% ong>ofong>the articles wrote about the labour market situation in 2005, in 2006 45% discussed thelabour market situation; just over 10% ong>ofong> the articles in 2005 touched on the financialsituation compared to 40% in 2006). These themes appeared frequently in the 2006 articleson the Roma families who migrated to Sweden as the writers ong>ofong>ten mentioned that thefamily members concerned submitted their applications for asylum status in Swedenbecause they could not find work in Hungary. Another frequent theme in these articles wasthat people receiving social aid could live on a higher stong>andong>ard in Sweden than in Hungary.We were able to classify 85% ong>ofong> the articles analysed into our typology containingdifferent points in time (we were able to determine the time dimension to which the articlereferred in a higher proportion ong>ofong> articles in Magyar Nemzet than in the case ong>ofong>Népszabadság). The present dimension dominates in the writings in both papers (115articles deal with the present). Some ong>ofong> the references to the past contain recent data onthe number ong>ofong> persons seeking ong>andong> obtaining asylum in the different EU member states.Also placed in this time dimension are articles on the life history ong>ofong> one or more personsinvolved in refugee affairs. A considerable proportion ong>ofong> the writings also dealing with thepast touched on the question ong>ofong> refugee affairs in connection with the 1956 revolution. Thepresentation ong>ofong> life histories was more typical ong>ofong> Népszabadság, while discussion ong>ofong> 1956was found more in Magyar Nemzet. Articles on the future most ong>ofong>ten deal with changes inthe EU’s immigration policy or restrictions in the regulations applying to refugee affairs orforeign nationals in the different member countries, or plans for such restrictions.Table 4: The time dimension appearing in articles in the two newspapersCan be determinedNewspaperTotalMagyar NemzetNumber ong>ofong>NépszabadságNumber ong>ofong>Number ong>ofong>articles (N=58) 12 articles (N=91) articles(N=149)52 89.7% 74 81.3% 126 84.6%Past (2006) 8 13.8% 8 8.8% 16 10.7%12Several time dimensions may appear in individual articles. For this reason the percentagefigures given in the table add up to more than 100%.98


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Social attitudes, proposed solutionsThe attitude ong>ofong> government policy towards refugee affairs could bedetermined in more than two thirds ong>ofong> the articles on refugee affairs. This attitudewas hostile in slightly more than half (75 articles) ong>ofong> all the publications (149articles), while a tolerant government policy appeared in one fifth (29 articles).Within the articles where the government attitude could be determined (104 inall), close to two thirds showed a negative attitude. The attitude ong>ofong> civil society(organisations, local residents, general public opinion) towards refugee affairsfigures in only a smaller proportion ong>ofong> the articles. This could be found in slightlymore than a quarter (40) ong>ofong> the articles. Close to three quarters ong>ofong> these reportedon a negative attitude, while inclusive attitudes figured in close to half 13 . In the caseong>ofong> inclusive attitudes most ong>ofong> the articles were about social organisations, whilehostile attitudes were linked to local residents ong>andong> to societies as a whole. Therewas no substantial difference between the two newspapers examined as regardsthe frequency ong>ofong> inclusive ong>andong> hostile attitudes.Table 5: Attitudes appearing in the articles on refugee affairsAttitudeAttitude could bedeterminedNumberong>ofong>articles%(N=149)Inclusive, tolerant Indifferent Judgmental,hostileNumberong>ofong>articles%(N=149)Numberong>ofong>articles%(N=149)Numberong>ofong>articles%(N=149)Government 104 69.8% 29 19.5% 15 10.1% 75 50.3%policy/policies 14Civil society (civilorganisations,local residents,general publicopinion)40 26.8% 18 12.1% 1 0.7% 29 19.5%13Inclusive, tolerant: If the journalists or the persons they interviewed expressed a positiveview ong>ofong> government policy or civil society on refugee affairs.Hostile, prejudiced: If the journalists or the persons they interviewed expressed a hostileview ong>ofong> government policy or civil society on refugee affairs.14One article may contain the government ong>andong> civil society attitudes ong>ofong> several countries.99


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008We examined the proposals contained in the articles concerning ways ong>ofong>hong>andong>ling the problems related to refugee affairs 15 . The adoption ong>ofong> stricter laws ismentioned in 14% ong>ofong> the articles, while close to one tenth contain proposals for theexpulsion ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs. Only one article mentions thepossibility ong>ofong> milder legislation. There is no mention in any ong>ofong> the articles ong>ofong> morefinancial support ong>andong> only three contain a proposal for a greater role to be taken bythe state. Eight articles mention that increasing the number ong>ofong> programmesdesigned to assist integration could represent a solution for the problems ong>ofong>refugee affairs. The table below shows that in both papers only a few articlesong>ofong>fered proposals for the solution ong>ofong> the problems ong>ofong> refugee affairs. In both papersthere are more articles proposing expulsion ong>andong> stricter legislation as a solutionthan there are proposals for solutions reflecting a positive attitude towardsrefugees (milder legislation, greater role for the state or support, integration). Ahigher proportion ong>ofong> solutions representing a positive attitude is found inNépszabadság than in Magyar Nemzet. Solutions representing a negative attitudeappear with more emphasis in Magyar Nemzet.Table 6: Proposed solutions appearing in the papersNewspaperTotalMagyar Nemzet Népszabadság NumberNumber % Number % ong>ofong> articlesong>ofong> articles (N=58) ong>ofong> articles (N=91)%(N=149)Mentions a proposed 18 31.0% 21 23.1% 39 26.2%solution Stricter laws, 16 regulations 10 17.2% 11 12.1% 21 14.1%Expulsion 7 12.1% 7 7.7% 14 9.4%Milder laws, regulations 0 0.0% 1 1.1% 1 0.7%Greater role for the state 0 0.0% 3 3.3% 3 2.0%Greater financial support 0 0.0% 0 0.0% 0 0.0%More programmes helpingintegration 3 5.2% 5 5.5% 8 5.4%15We examined only what proposed solution appeared in the article – not whether the authoragrees with the proposal.16It is important to take into account when interpreting the table that an article may containmore than one proposed solution.100


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008General characteristics ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs in the articlesThe origin ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs 17 is specified in more thanhalf ong>ofong> the articles. The nationality is mentioned more frequently in Népszabadságthan in Magyar Nemzet 18 .The majority ong>ofong> persons in refugee affairs figuring in the articles are ong>ofong>European origin (56 articles deal with persons in refugee affairs originating fromEurope). Among European persons in refugee affairs the articles write mainly aboutHungarians. These results can be attributed to the fact that the articles appearingin 2006 paid special attention to the exodus ong>ofong> Roma families from Hungary toSweden. The articles on Hungarian persons in refugee affairs deal mainly withthese people, although there are also writings on refugees in 1956, as well as onethnic Hungarians who are not ong>ofong> Hungarian nationality (who came fromVojvodina, for example, to seek asylum in Hungary) 19 .Table 7: Origin ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs 20NewspaperTotalMagyar Nemzet Népszabadság Number ong>ofong> (N=149)Number ong>ofong> (N=58) Number ong>ofong> (N=91) articlesarticlesmentioninggiven originarticlesmentioninggiven originmentioninggiven originAsia 11 19.0% 29 31.9% 40 26.8%Europe 20 34.5% 36 39.6% 56 37.6%America 2 3.4% 3 3.3% 5 3.4%Africa 20 34.5% 27 29.7% 47 31.5%17 We refer here to people in the following categories as persons involved in refugee affairs:asylum-seeker, refugee, unaccompanied minor, person received in another country,“menedékes” (a legal category in refugee affairs in Hungary only. It is related to a temporaryprotected status).18 This proportion is close to 67% ong>ofong> the articles in Népszabadság ong>andong> close to 45% ong>ofong> thosein Magyar Nemzet. For the articles taken together: 57.0%.19 Because in many articles it was not clear whether they were writing about a person’snationality or ethnicity, we made no distinction between these code categories. In the specialcase where both a person’s nationality ong>andong> ethnicity were clearly specified in an article ong>andong>the two were not identical, we classified the article under both headings (for example, anarticle on Hungarians from Transylvania was classified in both the Hungarian ong>andong> Romaniancategories).20It is important to take into account when interpreting the two tables on origin firstly thatmore than one ethnicity/nationality may be mentioned in an article ong>andong> secondly that therewere articles where only the continent was given as place ong>ofong> origin.101


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Table 8: Origin (nationality, ethnicity) ong>ofong> European persons involved in refugeeaffairsNewspaperTotalMagyar Nemzet Népszabadság Number ong>ofong>Number ong>ofong>articlesmentioningNumber ong>ofong>articlesmentioningarticlesmentioninggiven origin (N=149)given origin (N=58) given origin (N=91)Slovak 4 6.9% 1 1.1% 5 3.4%Hungarian 14 24.1% 21 23.1% 35 23.5%Romanian 6 10.3% 4 4.4% 10 6.7%Serb 4 6.9% 7 7.7% 11 7.4%Serb-Montenegrin0 0.0% 2 2.2% 2 1.3%Ukrainian 0 0.0% 4 4.4% 4 2.7%OtherEuropean2 3.4% 11 12.1% 13 8.7%Often the articles make no mention ong>ofong> the personal characteristics other thanorigin ong>ofong> refugees ong>andong> asylum-seekers. Among the characteristics we examined theauthors most frequently wrote about the status the asylum-seekers obtained: thisappeared in four-tenths ong>ofong> the articles. Where the articles report on the statusobtained by persons involved in refugee affairs, in the majority ong>ofong> cases they writeabout refusal ong>andong> expulsion (37 articles).Among the personal characteristics, the reason for flight is mentioned in fewerthan one fifth ong>ofong> the articles. According to the newspaper articles in most cases peoplebecome persecuted in their own country because ong>ofong> their political convictions (14articles), but armed conflicts ong>andong> civil wars 21 also frequently appear as reasons for flight(12 articles). The gender ong>andong> age ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairs are generallymentioned in around a quarter ong>ofong> the articles. Men figure in slightly more articles (30)than women (27). Adults figure in more articles (33) than children or minor refugeesong>andong> asylum-seekers (21). If it is possible at all to determine the financial situation ong>ofong>persons involved in refugee affairs from the articles, it can be classified in the “ratherbad” category (this is mentioned in 17 articles). Only eight articles refer to theeducational qualifications ong>ofong> persons in refugee affairs ong>andong> in these cases moreemphasis is placed on the low level ong>ofong> schooling.21 Armed conflict does not figure in the Geneva Convention (as a basis for granting refugeestatus), we include it among the causes listed because ong>ofong> the definition ong>ofong> “menedékes”.102


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The statuses obtained by persons involved in refugee affairs can be terminatedin various ways: by renunciation, withdrawal or expiry. One ong>ofong> the articles reported onvoluntary return to the home country ong>andong> two mentioned expired status/permit.Table 9: General characteristics ong>ofong> persons involved in refugee affairsgenderageeducational qualificationsfinancial situationReason(s) for leavinghome?Status obtained bypersons applying forasylumHow was refugee statusterminated?Number ong>ofong>articles %(N=149)Mentioned 38 25.5%men 30 20.1%women27 18.1%Mentioned 35 23.5%children, minors 21 14.1%adults 33 22.1%Mentioned 8 5.4%maximum primary 6 4.0%secondary 2 1.3%tertiary3 2.0%Mentioned 20 13.4%bad 17 11.4%good 7 4.7%Mentioned 29 19.5%racial 4 2.7%religious 1 0.7%ethnic identity 1 0.7%political conviction 14 9.4%armed conflict, civilwar12 8.1%mentioned54 36.2%received status 5 3.4%refugee status 11 7.4%in process 13 8.7%rejected ong>andong>/orexpelled37 24.8%mentioned 3 2.0%at times byrenunciation1 0.7%at times bywithdrawal/expiry2 1.3%103


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008One ong>ofong> the points considered in our analysis was whether the articles givevoice to the person involved in refugee affairs. As we showed in the overview ong>ofong>the literature, it rarely happens that the persons directly involved are allowed tospeak for themselves (Speers, 2001). In our material we found that while in 2005the articles contained only very few personal reports by persons involved inrefugee affairs (in 3.5% ong>ofong> the articles), in 2006 the situation improved: they weregiven a voice in 15% ong>ofong> the articles. The difference between the two years can beattributed to the fact that in 2005 there was more emphasis on events outsideHungary in which foreigners involved in refugee affairs were mentioned. Incontrast, in 2006 many articles dealt with Roma asylum-seekers, among otherstravelling from Hungary to Sweden, ong>andong> in many cases the persons directly involvedexpressed their views in the articles about them – mainly in Népszabadság.DiscussionThe theme ong>ofong> law ong>andong> politics arose most frequently in the articles onrefugee affairs in the two papers in 2005 ong>andong> 2006. The high proportion ong>ofong>references to regulations ong>andong> political positions conveys the picture that refugeeaffairs are a state ong>andong> intergovernmental issue, an “ong>ofong>ficial”, legal ong>andong> politicalquestion rather than a humanitarian one. If the emphasis had been placed onhumanitarian considerations, the articles could have written, among others, aboutthe reasons why the persons involved in refugee affairs left their country. However,this form ong>ofong> presentation occurred only rarely in the papers. The highrepresentation ong>ofong> the theme ong>ofong> politics ong>andong> law is only partly explained by theprong>ofong>ile ong>ofong> the papers examined. Our finding that refugee affairs typically appear inthe papers examined as an ong>ofong>ficial, political question is in line with the results ong>ofong>press image analyses carried out in several other countries.Another important characteristic ong>ofong> the articles is that negative newspredominate. Most ong>ofong> the articles concerned in both newspapers write aboutproblems ong>andong> conflicts in connection with refugee affairs. The question ong>ofong> refugeeaffairs is ong>ofong>ten linked to a negative topic: it is presented in connection withcrime/deviant behaviour. Few articles write about positive developments. As wehave shown, foreign research projects examining the media image ong>ofong> minorities,refugees ong>andong> asylum-seekers also found that these groups are ong>ofong>ten presented in anegative light.104


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008What can be the relevance ong>ofong> the fact that the media shows a negativepicture ong>ofong> refugee affairs? Nowadays approaches assuming a minimal influence ong>ofong>the media are popular (Bajomi-Lázár 2006, Katz-Blumer-Gurevitch 1974, Petts et al2001). It seems to us that some ong>ofong> these greatly underestimate the significance ong>ofong>the media influence ong>andong> attribute too much power to the recipients in the processong>ofong> interpreting media information. Although we accept the position that theinterpretation ong>ofong> media information is an active process, for us this does notnecessarily mean that the media have no influence or that their influence is onlynegligible. It is a fact that in certain cases this influence can be enormous. Themedia are capable ong>ofong> setting ong>ofong>f mass hysteria or even ethnic conflict, as happenedin Los Angeles in the early 1990s.Several arguments can be put forward in support ong>ofong> the relevance ong>ofong> themedia image with respect to the topic ong>ofong> refugee affairs. In the case ong>ofong> refugeeaffairs the media can be a more important source ong>ofong> information for many peoplethan personal contacts, especially if there are relatively few persons involved inrefugee affairs in the given country (Hartmann ong>andong> Husbong>andong> 1974 – cited in Finney- Peach 2004). The media also play an exceptional role as an information source inconnection with refugee affairs because people receive negative information aboutmembers ong>ofong> minorities differently from news not about minorities (Csepeli et al,1993). The importance ong>ofong> the media’s role is also confirmed by the research whichfound that there is a connection between reports ong>andong> attacks on refugees ong>andong>asylum seekers. The investigation found that there was an increase in the numberong>ofong> such attacks when articles appeared in the press reporting on harassments butnot condemning them (Esser ong>andong> Brosius, 1996 – cited in Tait et al, 2004). Themedia play an especially big role in arousing ’moral panic’ in such issues as crime orasylum (Coe et al, 2004). According to Cohen, one ong>ofong> the objects ong>ofong> moral panictoday are refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers. He explains this by the fact that reports onthem speak about hostility ong>andong> rejection; or they treat refugee affairs as a politicalissue: the successive British governments not only take the lead in the generalhatred – thereby legitimising hostility – but they also speak about it in thesensation-seeking style ong>ofong> the tabloid papers (Cohen 2002 – cited in Finney - Peach2004). A number ong>ofong> other authors also reached the conclusion that the media havea substantial impact in racial ong>andong> ethnic issues (Miller – Philo 1999, Van Dijk 1991).105


Lilla VICSEK, Rolong>andong> KESZI, Marcell MÁRKUSJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008BIBLIOGRAPHYBajomi-Lázár, P. (2006). Média és társadalom. Budapest, Antenna Könyvek.Coe, J. & Fricke H. J. & Kingham, T. (2004). Asylum attitudes: A report for the CRE on publicattitude campaigning. London, Information ong>Centreong> about Asylum ong>andong> Refuggees in theUK (ICAR). Retrieved 16. 10. 2006. from:http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/asylum_attitudes_report.pdf.Cohen, S. (2002). Folk Devils ong>andong> Moral Panics. London: Routledge.Colombo, M. (2004). Theoretical Perspectives in Media-Communication ong>Researchong>: From Linear toDiscursive Models. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Socialong>Researchong>, 5(2), article No. 26. Retrieved 15.4.2006 from:http://www.qualitativeresearch.net/fqs-texte/2-04/2-04colombo-e.htm.Czene, G. (2002). Növekszik az idegen ellenesség. Szoc.háló, Retrieved 3.8.2006 from:http://www.szochalo.hu/archivumbol/aktualis/hircentrum/article/100067/1563/category/118/starttime/1009839600/endtime/31535999/.Csepeli, Gy. (1993). Kisebbségek képe a többségi kommunikációban. In: Csurdi Sándor (szerk.)Kisebbségkép a tömegtájékoztatásban. Regio, Budapest.Csigó, P. (2004). Törzs-közönségek – identifikáció és performatív média-hatás a kereskedelmimédia korában. Budapest, kézirat.Enyedi, Zs., Fábián Z., & Sík Endre (2004). Nőttek-e az előítéletek Magyarországon? In: KolosiTamás & Tóth István György & Vukovich György (szerk.) Társadalmi Riport 2004. Tárki,Budapest.Esser, F. ong>andong> Brosius, H.B. (1996). Television as arsonist? The spread ong>ofong> right-wing violence inGermany. European ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> Communication, 11/ 2, 235 – 260.Fairclough, N. (1995). Media Discourse. London: Edward Arnold.Finney, N. & Peach, E. (2004). Attitudes towards asylum seekers, refugees ong>andong> other immigrants.London, Information ong>Centreong> about Asylum ong>andong> Refuggees in the UK. Retrieved 3.8.2006from: http://www.cre.gov.uk/downloads/asylum_icar_report.pdfFinney, N. & Robinson, V. (2007). Local press re-presentation ong>andong> contestation ong>ofong> nationaldiscourses on asylum seeker dispersal, Retrieved 12.6.2006 from:http://www.ccsr.ac.uk/publications/working/2007-01.pdfGerbner G., Gross L. M., & Signorielli, N. (1986). Living with television: The dynamics ong>ofong> thecultivation process. In J. Bryant & D. Zillmann (eds.), Perspectives on media effects.Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 17-40.o.Hall, Stuart (1980). 'Encoding/decoding'. In ong>Centreong> for Contemporary Cultural ong>Studiesong> (eds.):Culture, Media, Language: Working Papers in Cultural ong>Studiesong>, 1972-79. London:Hutchinson, 128-138.Hartmann, P. & Husbong>andong>, Ch. (1974). Racism ong>andong> the Mass Media. London, Davis-Poynter.Hargreaves, A. G. (1995) Immigration, ‘race’ ong>andong> ethnicity in contemporary France, London:Routledge.Jhally, S. & Lewis, J. (1992). Enlightened racism: the Cosby show, audiences, ong>andong> the myth ong>ofong> theAmerican dream. Boulder, Westview Press.Kalmár, E. (2001). Menekültek a magyar munkaerőpiacon. Munkaügyi Szemle 2001/7-8.106


Representation ong>ofong> Refugee Affairs in Hungarian DailiesJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008Katz, E., Blumler J.G., & Gurevitch, M. (1974). Utilization ong>ofong> mass communication by the individual.In. J.G. Blumler & E. Katz (eds.) The Uses ong>ofong> Mass Communication, 19-32., Beverly Hills,CA: Sage.Klapper, J. T. (1960). The effects ong>ofong> mass communication. Glencoe: The Free Press.Kovács, É. & Kriza, B. (2004). Idegenek a magyar sajtóban az 1945., az 1990 és a 2000. évben,Regio, 4.Krippendorf, K. (1995). A tartalomelemzés módszertanának alapjai. Budapest, Balassi Kiadó.Ligeti, Gy. & Kurt Lewin Alapítvány (2007). Kisebbségek és bevándorlók a médiában Retrieved17.9.2007 from: http://www.kurtlewin.hu/dokumentumok/mmm_final_report.pdfhttp://www.kurtlewin.hu/dokumentumok/mmm_kutatasi_eredmenyek.rtfMassey, D. S. et al. (2001). A nemzetközi migráció elméletei: áttekintés és értékelés. In E. Sík (eds.)A migráció szociológiája. Budapest: Szociális és Családügyi Minisztérium, 9-40.McCombs, M. E. & Shaw D. L. (1972). The Agenda-Setting Function ong>ofong> Mass Media. Public OpinionQuarterly, 36 (nyár), 176-187.Miller, D. & Philo, G. (1999) The effective media. Retrieved 3.8.2007 from:http://www.gla.ac.uk/centres/mediagroup/Effective%20Media.pdfPetts, J., Horlick-Jones, T., & Murdock, G. (2001) Social amplification ong>ofong> risk: The media ong>andong> thepublic. Contact ong>Researchong> Report. Sudbury, HSE Books.Philo, G. & Beattie, L. (1999). Race, ong>Migrationong> ong>andong> Media, in G. Philo (eds.) Message Received,Harlow, Longman, 171-196.Speers, T. (2001). Welcome or over reaction? Refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers in Welsh media. WalesMedia Forum, Wales. Retrieved 4.12.2006 from:http://www.oxfamgb.org/ukpp/resources/downloads/WelcomeorOverReaction.pdfTait, K., Grimshaw, R., Smart, K., & Nea, B. (2004). Media Image, Community Impact. Assessing theimpact ong>ofong> media ong>andong> political images ong>ofong> refugees ong>andong> asylum seekers on communityrelations in London. London, Information ong>Centreong> about Asylum ong>andong> Refuggees in the UK(ICAR). Retrieved 16.11.2006 from: http://www.icar.org.uk/?lid=1962Terestyéni, T. (2004). A sajtó roma vonatkozású tartalmai a 2002-es parlamenti választásokkontextusában. Médiakutató, 2, 117-136.van Dijk, T.A. (1991). Racism ong>andong> the Press, London, Routledge.Van Gorp, B. (2005). Where is the frame? Victims ong>andong> Intruders in the Belgian Press Coverage ong>ofong>the Asylum Issue. European ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> Communication, 20, 484-507.Vicsek, L. (1997) Cigánykép a magyar sajtóban (1995. március-június). Szociológiai Szemle, 3, 139-158.Laws, Decrees:172/2001. (IX. 26.) Kormány Rendelet a menekültügyi eljárás részletes szabályairól és amenedékesek okmányairól. Retrieved 3.8.2006 from:http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/getdoc2.cgi?dbnum=1&docid=A0100172.KOR&cel=P(71997. évi CXXXIX. törvény a menedékjogról, Retrieved 16.3.2007 from: http://www.bm.hu/proba/bmtvtev.nsf/kkhkibocsatas/EC30399050CD3F40C1256B2A002A48EE,A menekültügyi eljárás folyamata, Retrieved 16.3.2007 from:http://www.bmbah.hu/ugyintezes_eljarasrend.php?id=30.107


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008POLICY REPORTSLabour Mobility in Nowadays Europe ong>andong> Its Role in EconomicDevelopmentIoana ALBUAbstract: “Worker mobility is a key instrument for an efficiently functioning single marketong>andong> is essential for allowing more people to find better employment, a key objective ong>ofong> theLisbon Strategy”, as it is stipulated by the Communication from the Commission to the EP,the Council, the ECOSOC ong>andong> CoR in Mobility, an instrument for more ong>andong> better jobs: TheEuropean Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010). Job mobility has been significantly affectedby technological change, by changes in education patterns, ong>andong> by structuralunemployment. The mobility ong>ofong> labour force in EU member states is hardly moving.‘Creating jobs to people’ * has been the focus ong>ofong> attention ong>andong> debate within politicians,economists, experts in the field ong>andong> policy- makers in the EU ong>ofong> 27, in order to contribute toa more even economic development at the level ong>ofong> regions, given the disparities betweenpoorer regions ong>ofong> Europe ong>andong> richer ones. Overcoming barriers, such as the cultural ong>andong>language barrier, in the way ong>ofong> the free movement ong>ofong> people ong>andong> especially the work forceong>andong> creating an improved stong>andong>ard ong>ofong> living, diminishing income differences ong>andong> regionaldifferences in Europe does pose a real challenge for the EU ong>ofong> 27.Keywords: labour mobility, regional disparities, balanced economic development, migrationflows, barriers to the free movement ong>ofong> personsThe European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010) represents a further,important step in a long line ong>ofong> initiatives to promote mobility, based on the’lessons’ from the 2002 Action Plan ong>andong> the 2006 European Year ong>ofong> Workers’Mobility. It shows that all recent challenges posed by the global economy, agingpopulation in Europe ong>andong> a constantly changing labour marketgreater levels ong>ofong> mobility.demong>andong> muchThe EU enlargement in the last two waves ong>ofong> accession, 2004 ong>andong> 2007increased both the opportunities for workers to find a job, ong>andong> for employers tong>ofong>ind workers, creating a ’large potential labour force to cope with the challenges ong>ofong>ageing ong>andong> globalisation’. Workers need to be more mobile both between jobs, ong>andong>between regions ong>andong> Member States, according to the above cited document.* The present study is based on a report delivered by the president ong>ofong> EIB in 2007108


Labour Mobility in Nowadays EuropeJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008The European Union by its founding treaties (The Maastricht Treaty), rightfrom its beginnings, has vised balanced economic development across its regions.Nevertheless, the gap between the poor regions ong>ofong> Europe ong>andong> the rich ones posesimportant matters, such as the extent to which the differences in the stong>andong>ards ong>ofong>living should be reduced at the level ong>ofong> these regions. What would the ‘right’ level ong>ofong>disparities be ong>andong> the ‘correct’ speed ong>ofong> convergence, is one ong>ofong> the main issues to beaddressed by specialists in the field (P. Maystadt). Taking into study other developedcountries to compare economic disparities would enable the assessment ong>ofong> whetherthere has been any convergence in regional disparities in Europe.The present study refers to the Western Europe Member States, the 15 thatfirst created the Union, since the gap between the Western Europe member statesong>andong> the new accession countries (i.e. former communist countries mostly] is stillprominent. Historically speaking, back in the ‘60’s disparities among themselves wereabout twice as large as those between the American states. Disparities were felt alsoin terms ong>ofong> income; in this respect they have halved (expressed in Euros]. Thepurchasing power across Europe’s regions has presented itself the same as the aboveones. As to income convergence in Western Europe, a first stage was the one inwhich real incomes came closer together followed by a convergence ong>ofong> prices,alternating in the following decade with a decline in the purchasing power. Thefollowing period until the ‘90s, the income disparities came down by about 40%(according to the source quoted). Later on, the period since the mid-‘90s that haswitnessed two major events: the introduction ong>ofong> the Euro ong>andong> falling inflation,wherein the convergence referred to made visible progress little by little.The EU is seen as a confederation ong>ofong> states under a supra-nationalstructure; the average population ong>ofong> whose Western member states (15) being ong>ofong>about 25 million people. Poorer EU countries tend to outgrow richer ones. Regionaldisparities in the EU may persist over time, taking into account the fact that theconvergence trend in the EU (at the level ong>ofong> country) is reflected in the regions.Income disparities in Western Europe are still substantial at the same level. All thematters above consist an issue ong>ofong> concern for politicians, policymakers ong>andong>economists referring to economic growth ong>andong> regional cohesion.The EU ong>ofong> 27 looks different in what concerns the disparities in terms ong>ofong>wealth. It also is a well-known fact that there are temporary increases in nationaldisparities, as the poorer member states grow faster than the richer ones. Theconvergence process ong>ofong> the 10 new member states ong>andong> the latest two in 2007 can109


Ioana ALBUJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008be considered over he short period 2003-2005 only (according to P. Maystadt].These new members states, former communist countries, for all progress that hasbeen made with the creation ong>ofong> new markets, improved production capacity,modernized industry are still confronted with a slow catch up process with the EUwestern member states. The fact that regional disparities in Europe are largermight be conducive to the idea that EU’s regional policies are not properly working,but this is not by all means the case, since without support mechanisms such asstructural funds, their effectiveness is not easily observable. With the expendingprocess ong>ofong> globalization worldwide, accompanied by technical change, theproduction structures are being reshaped ong>andong> the entire manufacturing, finance,banking ong>andong> business domains facing an increased ong>andong> rapid growth. Peripheralregions, nevertheless, develop less dynamically.Supporting the development ong>ofong> poorer regions is a matter ong>ofong> concern ong>ofong>both EU member states governments ong>andong> the EU institutions. 90% ong>ofong> the structuralfunds, according to the latest statistics, have been allocated to the membercountries in order for these to improve production in less developed regions.Referring to income convergence, taking the model ong>ofong> developed countries, itsmain driving force consists in internal migration in association with other factors(e.g. common language, housing prospects, education ong>andong> children education).In the EU, according to experts in the field, labour is still not mobileenough, despite the large numbers ong>ofong> particularly Eastern European new memberstates, such as Polong>andong>, Romania, Hungary ong>andong> lately Turkey in view ong>ofong> itsaccession); the reason being partly cultural barriers ong>andong> language barriers that arenot easy to be removed. The migrant workers are confronted with the challenge ong>ofong>losing long term benefits versus moving to another country ong>andong> being entitled toincreased incomes ong>andong> social benefits. However, as it is shown in the Action Plan2007-1010 ’worker mobility still remains rather restricted by a number ong>ofong> barriers.Aside from an uncertainty over the advantages ong>ofong> being mobile, individuals face anumber ong>ofong> hurdles to their movement. These can range from legal ong>andong>administrative obstacles, housing costs ong>andong> availability, employment ong>ofong> spouses ong>andong>partners, portability ong>ofong> pensions, linguistic barriers, ong>andong> issues on the acceptance ong>ofong>qualifications in other Member States’.As a brief conclusion, one might say that reducing regional differences interms ong>ofong> income, wealth ong>andong> unemployment, the experts envisage that bydiminishing the labour force ong>andong> mobility in depressed areas ong>ofong> the EU ong>andong>110


Labour Mobility in Nowadays EuropeJIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008increasing it in flourishing regions would make a difference in the aim ong>ofong> an eveneconomic development across Europe.Labour mobility data have contributed immeasurably to our understong>andong>ingong>ofong> individuals’ labor market activities, especially when it comes to analyzing jobmobility ong>andong> wage growth. Without the ability to "see" workers move fromemployer to employer, we would know very little about why workers separatefrom their employers, how ong>ofong>ten separations occur, ong>andong> how job mobility affectsearnings. Analyses ong>ofong> these issues have revealed labor markets to be far moredynamic than was previously realized. A related issue ong>ofong> long-stong>andong>ing concern isthe effect ong>ofong> job immobility on wage growth. Human capital models predict thatwages rise with job seniority when workers "stabilize” themselves in a particularjob ong>andong> invest in specific skills ong>andong> the workplace. Longitudinal data have proved tobe essential for assessing the merits ong>ofong> theoretical models ong>andong> identifying theeffect ong>ofong> tenure on wages.Worker mobility in the EU remains relatively low, although statistics onmobility flows on the underlying motivations need improvement. Worker mobilityshould be viewed as a means to create employment ong>andong> to help individual personaldevelopment in the 27 EU Member States. The ability to move from one job, fromone region or country to another is considered crucial for solving Europe'semployment problem. Worker mobility requires not only readiness on the side ong>ofong>workers, but also adapted social security schemes, dedicated training ong>andong>responsible employers.REFERENCES:1. Panigo, Demian & Naticchioni, Paolo, 2004. "Employment protection, job-tenure ong>andong> short termmobility wage gains," CEPREMAP Working Papers 0402, CEPREMAP.xxx Communication form the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, theEuropean Economic ong>andong> Social Committee ong>andong> the Committee ong>ofong> the Regions: Mobility,an instrument for more ong>andong> better jobs: European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)xxx EurActiv.com, ong>Migrationong> & Mobility, 2007, Free movement ong>ofong> labour in the EU-27xxx Europe’s World, Autumn 2007/7, ISSN 1782-0642;xxx EUROPA EURES The European Job Mobility Portal, EURES &You 03/2008xxx The Monthly Labour Review Online, February 2005, Vol.128 No.2 Audrey Light, Jobmobility ong>andong> wage growth: evidence from the NLSY79111


ong>Journalong> ong>ofong> ong>Identityong> ong>andong> ong>Migrationong> ong>Studiesong>Volume 2, number 2, 2008NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORSIoana ALBU, PhD, is a senior lecturer (with tenure), at the University ong>ofong> Oradea, Faculty ong>ofong>Communication ong>andong> Political Sciences, Head ong>ofong> Political Sciences Department. She is anexpert evaluator for the National Council ong>ofong> Scientific ong>Researchong> in Higher Education,Ministry ong>ofong> Education, Romania. Email: ialbu@uoradea.roAndreea CERVATIUC, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow associated with the English as anAdditional Language Chair, Faculty ong>ofong> Education, University ong>ofong> Calgary, Canada. Her researchspecialty areas include: English as an additional language, language policy, second languageacquisition. E-mail: acervati@ucalgary.caAndrada COSTOIU is a PhD student at the Department ong>ofong> Political Science, University ong>ofong>Illinois at Chicago. Her current research is centered on the integration ong>ofong> the ethnicminorities into their host societies ong>andong> also on the relationship between immigration ong>andong>international security. E-mail: acosto1@uic.eduDieu Donné HACK-POLAY, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in International Human ResourceManagement at London South Bank University. He completed the Doctorate in Education(EdD), specialising in Leadership ong>andong> Management (Lincoln) ong>andong> a PhD in Sociology (Surrey).His research interests are in migrant labour ong>andong> comparative human resource management.E-mail: hackpod2@lsbu.ac.ukRolong>andong> KESZI, Ph.D., is assistant lecturer at ELTE University, Budapest. He ong>andong> the Krolifyong>Researchong> Institute (www.krolify.hu) – ong>ofong> which he is the director – have conducted severalresearches dealing with the topic ong>ofong> refugees ong>andong> asylum-seekers in the Hungarian labourmarket ong>andong> also about their representation in the Hungarian press.Marcell MÁRKUS is a student at the Corvinus University ong>ofong> Budapest. He is currentlyworking on his thesis on the topic ong>ofong> the representation ong>ofong> migrants in the media.Janet McKNIGHT is a Tulane University Law School student ong>andong> was interning at ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office in June 2008. E-mail: janetrmcknight@gmail.comLilla VICSEK, Ph.D., is research associate at the Institute ong>ofong> Sociology ong>andong> Social Policy,Corvinus University ong>ofong> Budapest, Hungary. She has conducted several researches on thetopic ong>ofong> representation ong>ofong> minorities, migrants, refugees in the Hungarian Press. Otherresearch interests: influence ong>ofong> the media, methodological issues ong>ofong> text analysis, focusgroups, gender ong>andong> workplace. E-mail: lilla.vicsek@uni-corvinus.hu112


JIMS - Volume 2, number 2, 2008GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORSManuscripts will be accepted with the understong>andong>ing that their content isunpublished previously. If any part ong>ofong> an article or essay has already beenpublished, or is to be published elsewhere, the author must inform the ong>Journalong> atthe time ong>ofong> submission. Please find below the stong>andong>ard requirements that have tobe fulfilled so that your material can be accepted for publication in JIMS: The ideal length ong>ofong> an article (written in English) is from 4 000 to 8 000words, including a 200-word abstract in English, keywords, ong>andong> a very briefautobiographical note or resume The number ong>ofong> bibliographic references should be within reasonable limits The inclusion ong>ofong> tables, charts or figures is welcome in support ong>ofong> thescientific argumentation All articles should be presented in Microsong>ofong>t Office Word format, TimesNew Roman, 12, at 1.5 lines, ong>andong> will be sent to the e-mail addressjims@e-migration.ro ong>andong> a copy to contact@e-migration.ro mentioning"Manuscript Submission: [TITLE OF ARTICLE]" Book reviews are welcomed to be published in JIMS, but no longer than2000 words Contributions are welcomed at any time ong>ofong> the year ong>andong> will be consideredfor the next issues The editors reserve the right to edit the articles or to modify/eliminatesome fragments, observing the original sense. The extensive use ong>ofong> a too technical language or mathematic formulaeshould be avoided Footnotes (no endnotes); References ong>andong> bibliography (Chicago Style ong>ofong> Citation).For more details please visit the Guidelines for Authors page on the website ong>ofong> JIMSat: http://jims.e-migration.ro/Guidelines-for-authors.php113