New City of Sanctuary statement approved
Birmingham City Council has today (15 January 2019) approved a new City of Sanctuary statement, extending its commitment to include migrants visiting, residing or working in the city.
The council’s original commitment to Birmingham being a City of Sanctuary – to offer a welcoming place of safety for those fleeing from war-torn areas and persecution - referred only to asylum seekers and refugees.
Birmingham is a friendly, cosmopolitan city which is proud of the warm welcome it extends to people from all corners of the globe, regardless of their situation.
The updated City of Sanctuary Statement – which sets out the city’s aims and commitments to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants for 2018 to 2022 – extends its commitment to support for the resettlement and integration of new arrivals to EU and non-EU migrants.
As part of this commitment, the city’s aims include working to prevent crisis and destitution among new arrivals. The commitment also recognises the skills and assets people can bring with them to the city and what the city can do to enable new arrivals to contribute to the local economy and local economies.
This can involve providing access to English as a Second Language (ESOL) classes and activities, working with employment partners to identify opportunities and professional skills, as well as ensuring people can access and successfully navigate essential services, such as education, health and housing.
Cllr Tristan Chatfield, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities at Birmingham City Council, said: “As one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK - with a population made up of approximately 200 different nationalities - Birmingham prides itself in offering a warm welcome to all who choose to make their homes here.
“Whether new arrivals are asylum seekers, refugees or migrants, they all need help to understand our way of life and to successfully integrate into our community, so they can play an active role in the city’s life.
“This updated City of Sanctuary statement sets out the many ways in which we are already helping people to do just that – as well as offering help to access employment, education and other vital services.”
The full statement can be read here.