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How has Britain’s integration debate developed since 2000?

Published 20 October 2014 / By Will Somerville

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Ethnicity has been the primary lens through which policymakers have viewed integration policy, but policy aims have shifted over the last 18 years. Three objectives stand out and have been priorities at various times:

• harmonious community interaction between immigrants and residents
• reducing barriers to integration
• shifting immigrant behaviour and attitudes to better fit existing economic and societal norms

More recently, there has been a growing emphasis on requiring migrants to “fit in”. Furthermore, there has been a shift from central government lead with local implementation to locally-led policy, planning and implementation.

Will Somerville is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute and a Visiting Professor at the University of Sheffield.


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