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For the children: European Bangladeshis’ mass exodus to UK

  • Published at 09:51 am June 13th, 2018
  • Last updated at 02:29 pm June 13th, 2018
Some people from Italian Bangladeshi community (UK) Bangla Tribune

British nationals of Bangladeshi descent are also working in important government and administrative positions in the UK.

European nationals of Bangladesh origin have been leaving the European Union (EU) en masse to settle in the United Kingdom (UK) in recent years, reports Bangla Tribune.

There are a multitude of factors behind this exodus: economic hardships and unemployment rates are the primary reasons, but cultural and religious factors are also playing a significant role.

These Europeans of Bangladeshi descent are leaving different EU countries due to the small size and isolation of Bangladeshi communities, seclusion from Bangladeshi culture, low number of mosques, and lack of opportunities to study Islam.

On the other hand, the UK already has a thriving community of people from Bangladesh. There is even a Bangali neighbourhood named Bangla Town in East London. 

British nationals of Bangladeshi descent are also working in important government and administrative positions in the UK.

Considering these factors, Bangladeshis living in European countries have been moving to the UK in large numbers. 

Reports show that in the last five years, more than 50,000 European Bangladeshis have settled in the UK, and among these people, around 30,000 arrived from Italy.  

Meanwhile, the immigration of people from Bangladesh has slowed down during this period due to ongoing changes in UK immigration law and stricter regulations. 

Visa complications have also forced a large number of Bangladeshi students to move from the UK to other European countries such as France and Spain.

Despite the slowdown of immigration from Bangladesh, the number of British nationals of Bangladeshi origin has gone up significantly in the past few years. 

The Bangladeshi community in the UK is getting larger by the day, and a large part of this community now includes Bangladeshis settling in from European countries, commented several residents of Bangladeshi descent in London.

Why leave the European Union?

The correspondent got in touch with a number of people of Bangladeshi origin, who recently left Europe to settle in the UK.

They pointed out that most European countries do not use English as a lingua franca (common language). Schools from each European country teach the children their national language, which is different for almost all the nations of the block.

The parents believe that not learning English at schools will hinder their children’s chances of getting a higher degree or even proper education.

Many European countries, especially Germany and Austria, have no mosques for miles. Some of these countries have very small Bangali communities or none at all. 

The EU’s current economic depression is also a factor. 

Bangladeshi Europeans are leaving the EU to seek better options for their children’s education, Islamic teachings, and involvement in Bangali culture.

Some of the parents told the Dhaka Tribune that the UK has an international standard education system. 

The UK also has an abundance of mosques, granting an opportunity for Islamic education to children. While a large Bangladeshi community provides the children with an opportunity to learn the Bangali culture.

Statistical reports, research, and studies conducted on UK immigration reveal that economic depression has caused socio-economic turbulence in most of the European countries.

Unemployment rates in Italy, Portugal, and Spain are on the rise, leading to fewer employment opportunities for the people of Bangladeshi origin. Benefits provided by the governments of those countries are also on the decline.

However, the economy of the UK is doing better compared to most EU countries. 

In search of a better life

The ever rising trend of Europeans settling in the UK has raised concerns among policymakers in the British government.

In 2010, a total of 591,000 people arrived in the UK, compared to 219,000 people who arrived in September of 2017. A large number of these people are of Bangladeshi origin.

Reports also show that a significant number of people who received citizenship from an European country, is currently living in the UK.

Sumon Ahmed, who moved to UK from Austria, told the correspondent: “Thousands of Europeans of Bangladeshi descent are moving to the UK to settle every year. Many of them have Italian citizenship.”

Jasim Ahmed, who left Italy for the UK, has been living in the Forest Gate neighbourhood of London for the past two years. 

“This trend is not new. Many European citizens left the EU to settle in the UK in the past. However, the number of people leaving EU has gone up in the past years,” he said.

People are selling their homes and businesses due to the economic depression in Europe, and moving to the UK in search of a better life. 

Some newcomers are investing in small businesses, some are driving cabs in the UK. There are different communities for Bangladeshis arriving in the UK from Italy and Spain. Boishakhi Mela (Bangla New Year Fair) is being celebrated in a festive and colourful mood every year.

Bangladeshi Italian Welfare Association of UK President Rezaul Karim Mridha said: “Around 30,000 Italians of Bangladeshi origin arrived in the UK in the past five years. According to the data provided by the Italian consulate, around 20,000 of them are presently living here.

“Many of these people did not register with the consulate, and some of them came from Spain, Germany, and Austria.”

The correspondent has learned that Italy is home to around 300,000 citizens of Bangladeshi descent, and many of these people are interested in living in the UK.

Bubbly Begum, a woman of Bangladeshi origin who arrived in the UK from Portugal, told the Dhaka Tribune that more than 13,000 Portuguese Bangladeshi arrived in the UK in the last few years. 

After Italy and Portugal, France is in third place, in terms of the number of Bangali people leaving for the UK. Many are also arriving from Austria.

Upon arrival, these European nationals are receiving all applicable benefits from the British government. 

But, this exodus comes with a downside. The recent influx of Europeans in the UK has further shrunk the British job market, creating a new challenge for the newcomers.

The new arrivals are working in sectors such as the public transportation, retail, and local industries. Many are working part time, and some are receiving jobseeker allowances from the British government.

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