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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 11:38 GMT
Migrant workers 'need more help'
Migrant workers queuing (generic)
The council said it recognises its responsibilities to the changing population
Wrexham needs a better way to deal with its migrant workers according to the town's local authority.

A council report has revealed there could be up to 2,000 people working in the town from outside the UK.

Many have come to work in Wrexham from countries including Portugal, Poland, India and the Philippines.

The authority said it was alerted to the high number of migrant workers in the town following the Caia Park race riots in June 2003.

The area was the focus of disturbances between some people on the estate and Iraqi Kurd refugees.
One of the biggest problems is the language barrier because we have no history of their educational background
Rachel Molyneux, Head, St Anne's Primary School

As a result of the disturbances 51 people appeared in court, and jail sentences totalling more than 80 years were handed out.

The council report discussed on Monday is not solely about refugees or asylum seekers. It does suggest that not enough is done to help migrant workers and their families settle in the area.

Rachel Molyneux, head teacher at St Anne's Catholic Primary School in Caia Park, Wrexham said children from different countries make up 10 per cent of the school's population.

"They arrive in school very often with an interpreter on one day and begin in school the next day and have to be assessed as best as we can to try and see what stage of learning they are at," she said.

"One of the biggest problems is the language barrier because we have no history of their educational background."


However, educational provision is not the only concern highlighted by the council. They also want better provision for housing, welfare and the ways migrant workers are recruited.

Pupils at St Anne's school, which says 10% of children there are originally from outside the UK
Pupils at St Anne's school, which says 10% of its children are originally from outside the UK

"There is a community cohesion issue which is about the changing nature of the Wrexham population and that's an issue that we've been aware of for awhile following the Caia incident of 2003," said Malcolm Russell, head of strategic services at the council.

"As a council we recognise our responsibilities," he added.

Many of the town's migrant workers have been employed on the Wrexham Industrial Estate.

Angelica from the Czech Republic lives with her three children and husband Joseph who she says works long shifts in a cheese processing plant.

She said she knows some people who have arrived in Wrexham not knowing where to turn to for support.

She has helped a Polish family with "legal problems because they have no house and help find a doctor," she said.

However, Marjorie Dykins, secretary of the Wrexham Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group said there are many problems that need to be dealt with.

"They ask us about schools, health issues, jobs and they need attention," she said.

Refugees' festive meal for pupils
08 Dec 04 |  North East Wales
Riots changed face of an estate
16 Mar 04 |  North East Wales

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