Study: Syrian refugees and British citizens share 'substantial common ground'

Britons and Syrians share many opinions on what is most valuable for a good life

Britons and Syrians share many opinions on what is most valuable for a good life

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Syrian refugees and UK citizens share opinions about what makes a good life, researchers have found.

Academics at Glasgow University carried out a study among 7,300 Syrian refugees, focusing on those who have settled in the UK since 2015.

Preliminary findings indicate young Syrian refugees and UK citizens have "substantial common ground", sharing opinions on what is most valuable for a good life despite varying views on religion, politics and morality.

Researchers also found that Syrian refugees in the UK report less discrimination than their counterparts in Greece and Lebanon, despite all facing some hostile attitudes.

The UK-based refugees are most likely to remain and contribute to their host economy and are "much better supported" compared to those in Greece and Lebanon.

Syrian refugees in the UK also have the highest levels of skills and training from the groups, and around two thirds are either in work or studying.

A majority cite language as the main barrier to accessing the labour market.

When asked what they would like to say to Britons, one Syrian refugee said: "We have the skills and education needed to start a new life and to help further improve this country, so we are just asking you to have faith in us, in our abilities and good intentions."

In a joint statement, Glasgow University senior lecturers Georgios Karyotis and Ben Colburn said: "Young Syrians and citizens in the UK have a diversity of views about religion, politics, and personal morality, but share opinions about what is most valuable for a good life.

"This counters the narrative that migration poses a problem because of incompatibility with 'Western' or 'British' values: in fact there is substantial common ground."

The research is based on 1,511 face-to-face interviews with Syrian international protection beneficiaries and applicants aged 18-32, carried out in the UK, Lebanon and Greece.

The interviews took place between April and October last year and explored their values, skills, training needs and work aspirations.

Representative surveys of home populations were also carried out to discover their own aspirations and ideals, attitude to refugees, and priorities for refugee policies.

The findings will be presented at an exhibition at The Lighthouse, Glasgow, from Thursday.