Immigration to the UK

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Présentez la notion « Espaces et échanges » à partir du travail fait en classe pendant l’année.

Les clés du sujet

La problématique choisie

Dans le corrigé qui suit, nous partons du principe que l’élève a travaillé en classe la notion « Espaces et échanges » à travers la problématique de l’immigration.

Les idées principales

À la une de tous les journaux, l’immigration, clandestine ou légale, est un sujet auquel nous sommes confrontés quotidiennement. Les guerres, les dictatures, la pauvreté, aggravée par le réchauffement climatique, sont à l’origine de flux migratoires croissants des pays en développement vers les pays développés, ces derniers désignant désormais ce phénomène sous le nom de « crise migratoire ».

En Grande-Bretagne, c’est ce problème, très médiatisé, qui semble avoir majoritairement poussé les Britanniques à dire « oui » au Brexit. L’objectif de cette présentation est de montrer que la perception négative des migrants à l’origine de ce vote est souvent basée sur des stéréotypes, alors même que le Royaume-Uni est profondément multiculturel.

Les documents évoqués

À chacun des documents est associé un mini-lien pour faciliter sa recherche.

La campagne du JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) :

Un article de The Independent, “Ten things that immigration has done for Britain” (Nov. 2014) :

Une chronologie de l’immigration au Royaume-Uni :





Brexiteers : ceux qui sont favorables au Brexit

to be wary of : se méfier de

lenient : laxiste

[Présentation de la thématique choisie] During the campaign that occurred before the referendum on Brexit in 2016, one of the arguments of Brexiteers was based on immigration. It was argued that British people were becoming more and more wary of “foreigners” taking over, and that immigration policies were too lenient and should become stricter. This topic was also one of the main issues in the American and European elections in 2016 and 2017, as there is a “migration crisis” going on in Europe.

[Lien avec la notion] In fact, immigration is the most obvious way to deal with the notion of Spaces and Exchanges: the idea of movement between countries that leads to exchange between the existing population and the new arrivals.

[Problématique] We may wonder why we should change our attitudes towards immigrants. We still hold many stereotypes regarding them, although they are actually an essential part of a country’s economy.

[Plan] I will begin by giving examples of the way immigrants are seen in today’s society before moving on to the fact that immigration has always been an integral part of the UK.

1. Fighting stereotypes

This mistrust of immigrants that led to the “Leave” vote is deeply rooted in the stereotypes attached to them.


an awareness campaign : une campagne de sensibilisation

to fit in : s’intégrer

We studied an awareness campaign launched in 2013 by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) which shows different people making a difference to Britain. These posters were devised to help immigrants fit inand to change people’s attitudes towards them by showing what diverse andimportant roles they play in society.

We went on to talk about which of us came from immigrant families – in our class there are 11 different origins so we can see this is also a personal issue.

2. Immigration is nothing new

Yet, the history of the country shows that multiculturalism has always been at the core of British identity: After all, this is what the British Empire was built upon from the 17th century onward.

We went on to look at an article from The Independent that proves that this “positive” impact of immigration is nothing new! Some iconic parts of British society exist thanks to immigrants. Even some celebrities often associated with the UK were born elsewhere: Prince Philip for instance, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, was born in Corfu!

Another more concrete example is the NHS (the National Health Service in Britain) which is run thanks to nurses and doctors from all over the globe.

If we look even further back in time we could argue that Britain is a nation of immigrants. A glance at a timeline produced by Woodlands School shows us the different origins of people who have been coming to the UK since the 12th century.


In conclusion, it seems obvious that immigrants are and have always been an integral part of the country. And with the wars all over the world, isn’t it understandable that victims flee these terrible places

Perhaps that is where the answer lies: in the past Western governments encouraged foreigners to come in order to rebuild the country whereas more recently immigrants have been arriving of their own accord. Does that mean we don’t need them I don’t think so but only time will tell how we will deal with this “migration crisis”. The most important thing is to stay informed and open-minded and refuse stereotypes.


Voici les questions que l’examinateur pourrait poser lors de l’entretien.


the Middle East : le Moyen-Orient

• to flee : fuir

dismantled : démantelé

What makes you use that expression “migration crisis”

Well, we cannot deny that the world is facing an unprecedented crisis, because of conflicts all over the globe, especially in the Middle East, but not only this. People flee wars, dictatorships and so on. In France over the last years, we have seen Calais turn into a “jungle” that couldn’t quite be dismantled. There’s no reason why things should improve, as long as there are wars all over the world – and climate migrations are only beginning…


to seek asylum : demander l’asile

So, is it something that you feel personally affected by

Absolutely! In my city, there are regular demonstrations to raise awareness about human rights, often about people who are here in France illegally. In my school several young people are refugees who have had to leave their countries and seek asylum in France. All they want is a better life and I don’t see why we can’t help them. Moreover, people usually don’t realise that the countries that some of these migrants leave, also suffer from their departure.

Can you explain what you mean by that

Certainly! It’s called “brain drain”. It’s something else we discussed in class with regards to India in fact. The richer educated young people leave India to get better paid jobs in Europe and America but to the detriment of their country of origin. It used to be a huge problem but there is a trend that is becoming more common: These people go to Europe to be educated and then take that knowledge back to where they came from and try to give something back. I think that is a really good thing!

All in all, why do you think a majority of Brits voted in favour of Brexit Do you think it was only a matter of immigration

I guess not. I know it was one of the main reasons, but it was not the only one: For instance, British people also resented the way Brussels intervened in British policies, through various regulations and decisions regarding taxes. Moreover, besides the migration crisis, I heard that some Brexiteers had considered there were too many EU residents working in the UK. And indeed, at the time, there were three million of them.

What about you Is it something you would ever consider Living and working abroad

I’m not sure. On the one hand, I’d love to spend some time in a foreign country – travel and meet new people from new cultures – but on the other hand I’m so close to my family that I don’t think I’m cut out for a life without them!

Thank you for your thoughts.