26th October 2022
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando

Indian and South Asian migrants in the UK

Many scholars have studied the different aspects of the process of settlement among ethnic minorities in the UK; such as Pnina Werbner's study in Manchester of British Pakistanis (1990). Among these studies, special attention has been given to the Asian immigrant communities who have recently become part of the social fabric in the UK. Much research has been carried out to investigate the nature of their settlement in the UK and the impact that they have made in society. For example, statistics have been gathered to analyse the level of religious discrimination that these communities have had to face in British society.

Scholars agree that these communities initially began to flow into the UK as a feature of the post-2nd World war reality when the UK needed cheap labour to aid in the economic reconstruction of the country. Furthermore the fact that many Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka were colonies of the British empire of the 19th and 20th centuries contributed to this process of immigration, as those Asian countries were exposed to many British influences during the colonial era. Among those influences were the English language, the Christian religion and other socio-cultural phenomena.

Since the 1950s Asian ethnic groups have been migrating to the UK for many reasons. For example, refugees and asylum seekers have been migrating to the UK because of civil wars in Asian countries. They have been able to fill vacancies in the medical field in the UK. This shows that immigration to the UK from these Asian countries has taken place for political and economical reasons in both the host and the home countries of these immigrants. Generally, as Warner points out these ethnic groups have been migrating to the west "in search of a better life"