Eastern European Communities
The migrant population in the UK is diverse, not only in terms of their national and ethnic origins, but also with regard to their economic and educational backgrounds. These differences will affect their experiences and perceptions of discrimination. For example, studies have shown that migrant groups who are culturally and ethnically more distant from the local majority population are more likely to experience discrimination than those who are more alike (Dancygier and Laitin, 2014), while migrants from less developed countries are often perceived more negatively than those from developed nations, regardless of their personal characteristics (Kustov, 2019). However, not all discrimination against migrants has an ethno-racial or national component (Ceobanu and Escandell, 2010). For example, attitudes towards low-skilled migrants are generally more negative than towards the high skilled (Hainmuller et al., 2011), which could in turn affect the experiences of discrimination of high- and low-skilled migrant workers.
On average, 16% of migrants in Great Britain in 2018 said that they would describe themselves as ‘members of a group that is discriminated against in this country’ because of their colour/race, nationality, religion, language or ethnicity’ (Figure 1). This share is higher among the UK-born population with foreign-born parents (30%).
Adult children of migrants, almost all of whom are UK citizens, may be more likely to see inequalities through the lens of discrimination than the foreign-born population because they have higher expectations of equal treatment in UK society. There are differences in the ethnic composition of the migrant population and the UK-born population with foreign-born parents that only partially explain these differences; that is, the UK born with foreign-born parents are still more likely to perceive group discrimination even when taking respondents’ ethnicity into account. In addition, UK-born ethnic minorities are still disadvantaged with respect to UK-born whites in relevant outcomes such as unemployment or wages (Dustmann et al., 2011) and part of this disadvantage is likely to be caused by discrimination (Heath and Di Stasio, 2019).