OPERATION INTEGRATION: The Making of New Citizens

6 February 2012
The Forum

This is our story of integration, of how to belong; a story of what has been achieved here in London with a little bit of money, and a lot of inventiveness and passion.  Over the past 18 years we at the Forum have worked with thousands of people from over 90 different countries—refugees, fleeing recent conflicts and repression to economic migrants and British people alike, many of them  longstanding community leaders, all adapting to austerity measures.

This report presents experiences of migrants and refugees and tells the story of their integration in London. It charts challenges and success of the Forum and other grassroots organisations that deliver integration support. It provides policy context and it gives users’ perspectives on the impact on migrants and the rest of the country.

This multimedia report includes the full report (PDF), integration profiles of 8 migrants, over 20 video interviews on integration tipping points, and blog posts exploring international and local perspectives on integration.

What Makes You Tip?

8 Profiles of Migrants and their Integration Tipping Points

In this series, migrants in London were asked their integration experiences in order to discover their integration tipping points – the incidents or moments when they finally felt that they belonged in the UK. Their stories are summarised here in testimony-style profiles to show examples of how diverse the integration experience is for individual migrants.

The participants were asked their arrival stories by focusing on what kind of challenges they encountered, then their tipping points of integration, and finally, whether they feel the belong now.

What was your Tipping Point?

Share your story of when you first felt comfortable in London

9 Comments. Leave new

Thank you for uploading the videos.
I like Dario’s interview. He honestly expresses his experiences about living with British people to let everybody know how difficult it is to get on with cold British people. In spite of how hard you may try, this is mainly due to the fact that the most British people do not want to integrate with foreigners, although there are getting many benefits from immigrants. It is understandable to see how a person coming from a warm and friendly country such as Italy would suffer living around British people with their cold and unfriendly attitudes.


Thank you Shadi for leaving your comment. Sometimes sharing your experiences can represent a good way to make people aware of how difficult it is to feel accepted in a different place. In my first months in London I faced incredible problems to find a decent house and this made me feel sad and frustrated. However, my bad experience with those people wasn’t due to the fact they are British but that they were completely disrespectful. Believe me: I have many British friends, and some of them are people who are working hard to give meaning to the word ‘integration’. People who strongly consider migrants as a resource instead of a problem. I come from Italy and I love my country but this doesn’t mean that other people do not have something different to offer, including the British. “I buoni e i cattivi ci sono dappertutto” we used to say in Italy and this means that you can find both bad and good person everywhere.


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[…] The government’s Creating the Conditions for Integration strategy transfers responsibility for integration to local areas, without refering to any models or guidance about what successful integration looks like, whilst also hijacking integration as yet another excuse to speak about security and extremism. Resources, of course are not attached to any of it. It was also disappointing for those of us working on the integration of new citizens that the government completely ignored our efforts, expertise and contributions. […]

Alix d'Harambure
30 August 2013 8:29 pm

I have been living in SE England for over 18 months. Now, my main preoccupation is mainly integration. I am not at all, in spite of my efforts and I have been wondering if it would be better up North or if I should just forget about Britain. I have been snubbed, been given the cold shoulder or ignored and I simply don’t understand. I am a highly educated person who speaks an array of languages. I thought church and volunteering would help me making friends. On Easter Day I slipped on a carrier bag just before entering the church. It resulted in a major fracture and three months in a cast. No-one but for a 79 yo retired minister and the sacristan came to visit and offer to do my shopping. In a town of about 2,000 people where everyone knows my face since I have helped in any possible means, did I receive another visit. The Christmas before that I had written cards to pretty much everyone I knew, and there again I got no thanks or reply. Now I have spent years in the USA and CANADA, also in hectic countries like Haiti and Brazil and more traditional ones like Portugal and Germany, and I fitted right away because I was friendly and enthusiastic. I come from a mixed European background, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany and Spain and am a citizen of first quoted. I am Protestant and have a PHD. Any help, advise, idea as to how I could get integrated is welcome. True, I don’t drink but true, in pubs the people are friendly enough but they are not quite my style. It was so hard at Christmas to go to church to then head to my flat alone. So my main question is WOULD IT BE BETTER IN OTHER PARTS SUCH AS WALES SCOTLAND OR NORTH of England? I can find work pretty much anywhere and am leasing my flat. I wanted so badly to make friends and eventually find a boyfriend. The worst is that I was so enthusiastic about living here. Thanks for your reply everybody.


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