According to the No Longer Invisible report (McIlwaine et al., 2011), the Latin American community is one of London’s fastest growing groups. In 2008 there was an estimated total of 113,500 Latin Americans living in London, comparable in size to other large migrant and ethnic groups such as the Polish population, which numbered 122,000 the same year.
There has been a nearly four-fold growth in Latin Americans in London since 2001; among other reasons, Latin Americans are arriving in the UK after migrating to Spain first, a phenomenon that has increased since the global economic recession.
In spite of the community’s high rates of employment, many experience exclusion, poverty and disadvantage in the labour market. 40% reported experiencing workplace abuse and 11% earn below the National Minimum Wage. The majority (70%) work in low paid, precarious jobs, mostly in the cleaning or catering sectors, and experience ‘in work poverty’; suffering isolation and little opportunity to improve their language skills due to working anti-social and fragmented hours.
In order to cope with living in an expensive city, almost a third of Latin Americans share their housing with other families and as a result many live in cramped, overcrowded conditions. Among London boroughs, Lambeth and Southwark have the highest Latin American population.
Read the full report here >>
Latin American Children
Official data on Latin American children in the UK is currently not available. However, IRMO comes into contact with hundreds of families each year who are facing difficulties accessing services and formal education for their children.
Limited places available in local schools, the long processing time for applications and a lack of knowledge among parents regarding how the system works mean that children can be out of school for several months.
Schools can also be reluctant to take on children that do not have a good command of English due to the limited resources available for ESOL students. Lack of English can also contribute to feelings of isolation and hinder children’s integration into their school community.
IRMO has created a short briefing on families’ experiences of school enrolment in Lambeth. Please read it here >>