Kenyans in Britain active in economy

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Apr 12, 2007
Kenyans in Britain active in economy

Story by PAUL REDFERN, NATION Correspondent, London
Publication Date: 10/5/2007
Kenyans are among the most economically active and successful of all the immigrant communities in the UK, says a new report.

The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) says that it estimates 123,600 people who were born in Kenya currently live and work in the UK.

The Kenyan expatriate community is the 13th largest in Britain, ahead of Australians, Italians, Canadians and even, surprisingly, the French.

But the community, said to be a mixture of African business people, white Kenyans, Kenyan Asians and asylum seekers, is one of the most productive of all immigrant communities to the UK.

Kenyans in the UK earn on average £24,500 (Sh3.3 million) a year, behind seven other countries including Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Africans, the French and Ugandans who have an average per capita income of £27,400 (Sh3.7 million).

But Kenyans are also the second biggest home owning immigrants in the UK, behind India, with 82 per cent of the community owning a house.

They are also among the least likely of all the communities to be claiming benefit from Britain’s social welfare system with only one per cent doing so.

Nearly 80 per cent of all Kenyans living in the UK are employed, with 19 per cent of them self employed. Average hourly pay for Kenyan immigrants is £12.50 (Sh1,704) per hour, among the top 10 earners of all immigrant communities to the UK and just behind Ugandans who earn £13.40 (Sh1,840) an hour.

The detailed study into Britain’s biggest immigrant communities was conducted by the institute to try and dispel some of the myths that have made life difficult for some immigrants in the UK.

Evidence base

The aim of the report was to tackle the fact that there is “very little information on the economic characteristics and contribution of Britain’s immigrants,” said the IPPR.

“This is unfortunate because it means that policy-makers do not have the evidence base they need on which to base good policies and because it leads to claims being made about immigrants and immigration that are based on intuition and assumption rather than hard data.”

Kenyans make up the third largest African immigrant group to the UK, behind South Africa with 189,900 and Nigeria with 146,300.
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