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Region shows biggest increase in migrant population outside London, survey shows.

More than 77,000 foreigners have settled in Birmingham over the last 10 years – the biggest increase in a migrant population outside of London.

The number of city residents born outside Britain now stands at 238,313, the first ever in-depth survey of the West Midlands’ migrant population has revealed.

But a spokesman for Birmingham equality group BRAP stressed our city has always been a cultural melting pot, with the first synagogue being built in the Middle Ages.

“The recent EDL protest showed a great unity across the city,’’ he said.

“Yes, there are community tensions, it would be disingenuous to say otherwise. But those tensions are not about a clash of cultures, they’re about deprivation and poverty. If we are not careful, those young people will become disaffected and angry.”

In the West Midlands, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of overseas visitors who made our region their home since 2001, Oxford University’s migration observatory census shows. Last year, 629,973 (11 per cent) of the West Midlands’ 5,601,847 population were born abroad.

Of those, 45.6 per cent held only a non-UK passport.

The Oxford study reveals the largest slice of our migrant population is from India – 99,717 people, followed by Pakistan, Poland, Ireland and Jamaica.

But the Polish represent the largest percentage of non-UK passport holders – 49,974.

Only five per cent of foreign residents – 19,375 – speak no English, while the most common foreign language is Punjabi. That is the first language for 17 per cent.

Senior researcher Dr Carlos Vargas-Silva, who led the census project, pointed out, despite Birmingham’s statistics, the West Midlands has dropped in the table of regions with the highest foreign populations.

He said: “Overall, the West Midlands’ foreign-born population is now the fourth largest of England and Wales’ 10 regions after London, the South East and the East. In 2001, it occupied third place in this ranking. However, it still has the third largest proportion of non-UK born residents within the population.”

Dr Vargas-Silva added: “There is enormous variation around the West Midlands region – many districts, such as Staffordshire Moorlands, have a fewer than one resident in 20 who was born abroad.”

See on www.birminghammail.co.uk

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