Cardiff in the United Kingdom (UK) is the best European city for immigrants, according to the 2023 Report on the Quality of Life in European Cities.
Cardiff, the capital of Wales, is one of the UK’s oldest settlements. It is known for its docks, historic castles, and proud sporting traditions.
The European Commission’s survey asked city residents if they think their city is a good place for immigrants.
It also asked if their city was welcoming to members of the LGBTQ+ community, older people, and families with children.
Almost all—95 percent—of Cardiff residents believe their city is an excellent place for the groups of people mentioned.
Lisbon in Portugal secured the second position with a score of 90 percent.
Another city in Portugal, Braga, came up third, scoring just one percent lower than Lisbon.
Two other UK cities were considered best for immigrants. These are the Tyneside conurbation in Northern England at seventh place and Scotland’s Glasgow at tenth.
According to the study, cities favored by immigrants and families with children also have higher satisfaction with local public administration.
Quality of life for immigrants in the European Union
The 2023 Quality of Life in European Cities report reveals that, on average, three out of four residents, or 73 percent, believe their city was a good place for immigrants to live in.
“Non-capital cities are also seen as a better place to live for migrants and families with young children,” read the statement of the European Commission.
Looking at specific locations, cities in the northern regions are considered better cities for immigrants at 79 percent.
On the other hand, eastern countries’ cities scored lower, with 67 percent believing their city is suitable for foreign-born individuals.
Immigrants prefer to live in cities
The survey showed that foreign-born individuals in the European Union (EU) tend to reside more in cities than in towns or rural areas.
Immigrants, those born in another EU member state or outside the EU, also perceived cities as better places to live.
“They represent 15% of the population of cities, compared to 10% in towns and 6% in rural areas,” read the report.
The report cited that immigrants may have unique needs. Because of this, they prioritize certain city characteristics and amenities over the general population.
For instance, immigrants face more challenges in building a solid social network and may have distinct integration needs.
Additionally, the quality of local-level policies can significantly impact immigrants, who are more susceptible to unemployment and overcrowded living conditions.
Immigrants, especially non-EU citizens, are also at a higher risk of poverty or social exclusion compared to host-country nationals.
Behavior of capital and non-capital city residents
The percentage of urban residents who view their city as a favorable place for immigrants is similar to the national average.
However, the study revealed a difference between capital and non-capital city residents’ perceptions of their city.
More people, precisely 75 percent, regard non-capital cities as favorable for immigrants compared to 70 percent for capital cities.
Most residents of non-capital cities tend to view their cities as welcoming to immigrants.
On the other hand, fewer residents in capital cities believe their city is suitable for foreign-born individuals.
UK is one of the top countries people want to migrate to
The UK remains one of the top country destinations for migrants eyeing better opportunities in life.
The country has been attracting professionals from various fields, such as finance, healthcare, education, and technology.
A 2023 comprehensive survey tagged the UK as the third-best country for individuals seeking immigration despite the higher cost of living.
The UK has also been among the most welcoming to immigrants among the European cities.
It recently ranked as the eighth easiest country for non-EU residents to acquire citizenship.
This is based on an analysis of immigration data from 2009 to 2021 by the EU’s statistical office, Eurostat.
Focusing on the success rates of non-EU resident applications over 12 years, around three out of 50 (3.2%) residents were granted UK citizenship.
Tightening UK immigration policies
The UK government will implement significant immigration policy changes throughout 2024.
The changes will cut down the increasing overall net migration in the country by around 300,000 annually and put less strain on public services.
Official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) put the UK’s net migration from June 2022 to June 2023 at 672,000.
Among the major immigration policies include raising the minimum annual income threshold of skilled workers and family visa applicants.
The country has also seen a remarkable 930% increase in the issuance of dependant visas since 2019.