- Posted by: Mike Hedges MS
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Mike Hedges welcomes New report on the integration of EU citizens living in Wales launches on International Human Rights Day
Speaking from his Morriston Office, local MS, Mike Hedges said… ‘ I welcome this Report on how European Citizens living in Wales are integrating in to Welsh Life. People who come to live in our Communities should be made welcome and supported to make a life in Swansea and Wales. European Citizens now live in almost every community in Swansea East and as I visit different groups in the Community, I see how much they contribute to local communities; I have even met them at local Welsh Classes.
People who contribute to our communities should be welcomed and encouraged. I hope that European Citizens living in Swansea today, will continue to live in Swansea after Brexit and make long and happy lives here.’
Mike Hedges AM
Assembly Member for Swansea East
Aelod y Cynulliad dros Ddwyrain Abertawe
Every 10th December, UN International Human Rights Day celebrates the day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This recognises the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, colour, religion, gender, language, political or other opinion, place of origin, birth or other status.
This year’s theme focuses on the need to build back better after the Covid-19 pandemic, by putting human rights at the centre of recovery.
The Deputy Minister and Chief Whip, Jane Hutt, said:
“Over recent weeks, there has been widespread coverage of the positive news regarding the development of a number of Covid-19 vaccines. However, the pandemic is not over and we must prepare for a potentially difficult winter to come.
“We must also begin to look beyond the pandemic to remedy some of the inequality that we know exists in our society and which has been further exposed in recent months.
“We want to use this global crisis as a moment for fundamental change in Wales so we can build back better and ensure that our future is fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable than our past.”
The Welsh Government is working hard to support community cohesion in Welsh communities after the UK’s exit from the EU, and has committed to develop policies and services that help migrants to settle into their Welsh communities.
The ‘EU citizens living in Wales: Community integration, equality of opportunity and equality of outcome’ report, carried out on behalf of the Welsh Government and published today, looks at ways in which citizens can be supported to continue to make Wales their home.
This report forms part of the Welsh Government’s EU Citizens Rights (EUCR) project to support the approximately 80,000 EU citizens living in Wales. It will help to make sure they have access to appropriate advice services, are protected from exploitation and exclusion, and are encouraged to continue living in Wales and fulfil their potential.
To continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021, the Home Office launched the EU Settlement Scheme under which EU citizens apply to obtain settlement status, which allows them to retain their rights.
Jane Hutt continued:
“We’ve always been clear that EU citizens who have made their home in Wales are welcome here. This is your home, you contribute to your communities, and we want you to stay.
“If you think you might need to apply for EU Settled Status, or know someone else who might, there is advice and support available to help. We want you to continue to make Wales your home.
“Welsh Government will continue to work tirelessly to tackle inequalities, poverty, and structural discrimination, and to support the human rights of everyone who chooses to live in Wales.”
Notes to editors: · Advice for EU citizens in Wales can be viewed here – https://gov.wales/preparing-wales/eu-citizens
· The full ‘EU citizens living in Wales: Community integration, equality of opportunity and equality of outcome’ project report can be viewed here – https://gov.wales/eu-citizens-living-wales-community-integration-equality-opportunity-and-equality-outcome
· Recommendations in the report include:
o Help EU citizens who settle in Wales to feel welcome: We recommend the Welsh Government to run a welcome campaign.
o Better access to information: The Welsh Government should consider building an online portal providing i) a brief overview of and ii) links to official websites on all aspects of integration for EU citizens.
o Increased support and a more active role for organisations working to improve integration: There are a number of organisations operating in Wales with the aim to support people from the EU settling in Wales, such as Settled and Citizens Advice. Funding support could help them to offer information and support to encourage inclusion and social cohesion within these communities.
o Labour market access: Information should be provided to EU citizens, especially those from EU-8 and EU-2 countries, on how their qualifications can be recognised in Wales
o Improving language skills: Given that knowledge of the English language is critical for integration into the community, additional provision of English lessons would be beneficial
· Community cohesion is one of the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. The Act sets out seven goals which public bodies should work towards to improve quality of life and well-being of people living in Wales. It is the first Act worldwide that establishes well-being of people as a governmental duty.
· Progress towards achieving well-being goals is monitored using national indicators. Examples of the indicators used to measure community cohesion are: the feeling of belonging to the local area; whether and how people from different backgrounds interact and respect each other; whether people feel safe in their neighbourhood or at home; whether they have access to public services; and whether they believe they can affect decision making at the local level.