Walking in urban city areas of the UK and heavily populated areas where ethnic minorities once resided, today shows the emergence of a different UK. You hear languages you did not hear before as people walk by, including Polish and Somalian dialects. A lot of the British Asians have moved out to other more better classed areas now, leaving the next generation of immigrants to ‘take-over’. Majority of the new immigrants are from an African and Eastern European background.
The migrants who have entered the UK to have a better life compared to their original homelands come with hope and outlook for a better future. Something the first generation of Asians from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh set out to do but potentially with the idea of earning money, sending it back home and eventually leaving. However, little did they think at that time that they would settle in the UK and produce future generations of British Asians.
A major difference perhaps being that the ethos of people from the sub-continent was to work hard, longer hours than the norm and create a new wave of businesses and work ethics not seen in the UK before. Whereas, the new migrants do not completely show the same vigor and urgency due to having instant welfare support and many deciding to opt for education and courses with the aim to find better work than remedial jobs.
It’s observed that classic businesses such as shops in high streets once owned by Asians are changing hands and there is an emergence of shops and businesses to cater for the new immigrants e.g. Polish food stores, Somalian restaurants and hang-outs.
Opinions and debates regarding the immigration and laws vary with supporters and people against them alike. The issue is that people have arrived and they are here to stay. This leads to another change in the fabric of British life which was once dominated by Asian immigrants making headlines.
A key parallel to be drawn is that same immigrants of a South Asian background are now seeing this change in the UK in the same way they were seen when they were arrived into the country. So, is this history repeating itself in a different time?
Comments have been heard where British-Asian people have stated their reluctance to accept this change, fear of increases in crime and the need to move to ‘better areas’ due to the surge of immigrants arriving in their community. Is this hypocrisy or simply difficulty to adapting to change? As these were the same attitudes and values they portrayed by local non-ethnic people in the UK in the past. This change presents an interesting twist in the lives of British-Asians, who are now seen as an integral part of UK society.
Perhaps the idea of the new points system for migrant workers is a way of curbing huge numbers entering the UK. Or is it that existing ethnic minorities have changed attitudes towards even doing remedial jobs, which are now being increasingly done by the new migrants and therefore, needing this new import of workers.
Many changes have taken place in the UK with respect to the British-Asians. A lot has been done to integrate cultural diversity through media, music, fashion and food. With the acceptance of festivals such as Eid, Vaisakhi and Diwali being achieved through increased awareness and openness of the British public, it is evident that more and more integration will continue.
However, what will happen when the newer immigrants will want more and more acceptance of their ways as well? Will this mean that the face of the UK will change further or will there be a limit to how much change will be tolerated? Especially by British Asians.