No Longer Invisible: 186,500 Latin Americans in the UK
The ‘Latin American Community in London’ 2010 report commissioned by LAWRS is the most comprehensive research on the community so far. Findings indicate that in 2008 there were an estimated 186,500 Latin Americans in the UK, and 113,500 in London, making this one of the fastest growing migrant groups in the Capital.
Numbers have dramatically increased since the outset of the global financial crisis, with secondary migration of Latin Americans from Southern European countries. In particular more single women and women with children are arriving in the UK from other European countries, mainly Spain, Portugal and Italy.
High employment rate concentrated in low-paid jobs
Latin Americans in London have a high employment rate (85%), but are concentrated in low-skilled and low-paid jobs where the conditions are often exploitative with long-hours, and they often have to combine several part-time jobs. According to the No Longer Invisible report (the first comprehensive survey of the Latin American population in London: go to link) over 40% of Latin Americans have experienced workplace abuse and exploitation. 11% of Latin American workers are illegally paid below the National Minimum Wage, which is 10 times higher than the average rate for the UK population (1.1%).
Despite high levels of employment and low incomes, the percentage of Latin Americans accessing public services and state benefits is low; according to the No Longer Invisible report, 1 in 5 Latin Americans have never been to a GP, 6 out of 10 have never been to a dentist in the UK and only 1 in 5 receive some form of state welfare benefit.
Double marginalisation of women: social and economical
The overwhelming majority of Latin American migrant women work in services such as cleaning, as domestics and in catering, without basic labour rights. Poverty, cultural barriers, lack of English and of knowledge of the system in the UK, combined with gendered forms of racism, and xenophobia, immigration restrictions, and lack of visibility and voice for the LA community, exacerbate isolation and marginalisation, increasing our vulnerability to abuse, discrimination and exploitation.
Women in our community are marginalised, both socially and economically. Responsibilities for children and the home restrict their chances to learn English and their way around the system. Many are survivors of gender abuse and atrocities back home and their circumstances as refugees and migrants in the UK make them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation at home and elsewhere.
Due to the lack of recognition of Latin Americans as an ethnic minority, it is difficult to establish the number of Latin Americans in the UK. Migration to the UK has been occurring for more than 30 years, however in the last decade the population has increased enormously.
Latin Americans come from all countries in Latin American: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela; and they have Spanish or Portuguese as their first language. However the majority come from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia an Peru.
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