A long-awaited Home Office report into the impact of migration, produced with help from Boston Borough Council, was published last week.
It confirms Boston as a ‘unique case’ among 26 local authorities in its ‘migrant worker towns and countryside’ cluster.
It recorded that Boston had ‘at least one characteristic that is highly pronounced: the immigration rate for EU Accession migrants in Boston, relative to the existing population, is around 10 times higher than the England and Wales average’.
The report was released on the same day as another by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory which revealed the proportional increase in the foreign-born population of Boston from 2001 to 2011 was the biggest in the country rising by 467 per cent – from 1,727 in 2001 to 9,790 in 2011. The Home Office report said areas such as Boston may experience a greater impact from immigration because there were low numbers of migrants before and because the new arrivals are concentrated in a small area. It said the factors create ‘greater challenges and potential tensions’.
It also said migrants can fall foul of rogue landlords and live in overcrowded and poor quality housing, largely in the private rented sector.
The report noted that when migrants lack English language skills, health service visits and appointment times are longer but that there was no evidence that migrant children have a negative impact on non-migrants in schools.