Uncovering the reality of life for immigrants who come to Wales to build new lives. Following the stories of a Polish migrant, a Romanian child and an asylum seeker.
Documentary series uncovering the reality of life for immigrants who come to Wales to try and build new lives. They're much talked about but rarely heard, yet they make up six per cent of the population of Wales.
There are an estimated 70,000 EU nationals in Wales who have the right to work here. With Britain set to leave the EU, their future is in the balance. Polish migrant Pawel runs an organic fruit-and-veg business. He farms 40 acres of land just outside Monmouth on the Welsh side of the border and sells produce at markets and directly to restaurants. When Pawel was offered the opportunity three years ago, he jumped at the chance to set up in business. Now he works an 80-hour week and has other migrant workers helping him. The owner of the land, Robert, who has farmed all his life, is happy to support Pawel because his own children did not want to go into farm work. Since the 2016 referendum, both Robert and Pawel are concerned about the possible impact of Brexit on the free flow of migrant labour on which they depend.
Six-year-old Andi is Romanian. He came to Wales in 2015 with his mum Elena, who works part-time in the hospitality industry, and his dad Soreen, who works in the construction industry. When they enrolled Andi at St Woolos school in Newport, he couldn't speak English. He's one of the 60 per cent of pupils there whose first language is not English. Andi's form teacher Miss Driscoll was a pupil at St Woolos herself and has a unique insight into how as a result of immigration, the school has become increasingly diverse. Newcomers who are still learning English participate in class with the help of support workers. Although this is an extra cost to the public purse, it doesn't come out of the school's budget. Within a year Andi's spoken English is reckoned to be on a par with his classmates. For Andi and his classmates, everyday life is multicultural and multilingual.
Refugees who come to the UK seeking sanctuary from war and persecution must make a claim for asylum on arrival. If they meet the terms of the UN agreed Geneva Convention, they can be accepted as asylum seekers. Some chose to come to the UK because they say they believe the British legal system gives them a fairer chance at claiming asylum.
Alikhan and his family fled their home country four years ago, hoping to find sanctuary in Wales, but so far, Alikhan hasn't succeeded in proving his case. In Wales at any one time around 3,000 asylum seekers are awaiting the outcome of their applications. Those who come to the UK to seek sanctuary from war and persecution and who claim asylum are entitled to basic housing provided by the Home Office. They aren't allowed to work and are given a basic weekly allowance. Alikhan's two youngest children were born in Wales. The family lives in a state of uncertainty as the process of reviewing their application continues. If it fails, the family could face deportation.
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