The Current Situatons of Jamicans in the British Labour Market

Presentation (Elaboration), 2001

8 Pages, Grade: 1,3 (A)


Table Of Contents

1 Introduction

2 The Jamaicans in Britain
2.1. Great Expectations
2.2. Change of environment
2.3. The Jamaicans on the British job market
2.3.1 From the 2nd World War to Thatcherism
2.3.2 The Present Situation
2.4. Jamaicans in the educational system

3 Conclusion

4 Bibliography

1 Introduction

Since the 2nd World War Great Britain has tried to fill gaps on its labour market by people from the Commonwealth. Indies, Pakistani and Caribbean were attracted by prospects of high wage and social security. On the following pages I want to regard the situation of the Jamaican immigrants, the largest section among the Caribbean who have entered Britain after 1945. I will focus on their reasons for immigration, their situation in the educational system and in the British labour market in past and present. The paper is a formulation of a talk from the 23rd January 2001.

2 The Jamaicans in Britain

2.1. Great Expectations

For the immigrants from the underdeveloped Caribbean islands, Britain seems as kind of wonderland. Britain in their eyes does not only mean wealth and security, but as Christian society also tolerance and charity towards strangers. Many Jamaicans spend all their money to offer their children better education and a better future. All these expectations had lead to a fluctuation of immigrants from the Caribbean after the post-war period. The most important reason for leaving Jamaica is said to be the prospect of further education. In a study from 1994, 25 % of all immigrants accounted for their step by the prospect of education; another 17 % left their home because of work and economic prospects1.

2.2. Change of environment

Jamaica is a poor and underdeveloped island, with an unemployment rate of about 20 %.. 25 % of the people work in agriculture, 43 % in industry ( 1993 )2. In contrast to India or Asia, the Jamaican industry is still in its progress.

Coming to Britain the Jamaicans enter a highly industrialised society, where life is much more complicated. About 80 % of all the immigrants from the Caribbean live in cities, esp. in London,

Manchester and Birmingham3. They are confronted with totally different values, horrified by the British attitudes towards marriage or child-raising. A certain problem for the Jamaican people is their new anonymity and own responsibility. In Jamaica the villagers live together like one large family which shares homework and education of children. As a result, the Jamaicans in Britain often group together in small communities, sometimes clubbing together to buy a house. These houses are in general in a terrible state. As a result of the housing shortage in Britain of the last decades the immigrants are forced to settle down in the poorest inner city areas, were accommodation is cheaper. Additionally, they are often faced with Britains who refuse to rent on Blacks. This is just one side of discrimination; another one is that a high number of whites have left the inner city areas, because they did not want to live next to blacks.

2.3. The Jamaicans on the British job market

2.3.1 From the 2nd World War to Thatcherism

When the mass-immigrations began after World War II, the situation for Jamaicans on the British job market was very good. In contrast to most of the white men, they really were seeking for work and had – often younger and healthier – best perspectives, especially in the industry in Northern England. Immigrants from the Caribbean were required by the Government to fill the gaps in the labour market in the post-war period. But during the 1960s Britain consciously began to reduce the inward flow of Black migrant labour with a sequence of immigration legislation which was biased towards the entry of highly-skilled and professional labour. This process of limitation and structuring of incoming New Commonwealth migrant labour coincided with the rise in the inward movement of labour from the Indian sub-continent. Immigrants from India or Pakistan made up about 62 % of available vouchers as against only 12 % from the Caribbean4 ( Daye 10 ) in 1965.

Many Jamaicans decided now to immigrate to the USA or Canada, where their workforce was required. Those who came to Britain were often forced into the lower working-class. To establish themselves and pay off debts accrued during their move, newly-arrived Caribbean accepted any job, often below what they were qualified for. They took some of the least skilled, most unpleasant jobs white people did not want: as factory workers, road sweepers or dustmen. Many joined the public services and had labouring jobs in hospitals or did menial catering work. They worked in such positions for nearly one year, hoping for an improvement of their position. But the Asians who arrived in those days, were confronted with a totally different job market. Most of them were doctors or teachers and they had to fill the gaps that the high number of Britons had left, who had immigrated to North America due to higher wages.


1: Saunders, Dave. The West Indians in Britain. London: Batsford Academic and Educational, 1984. 20.

2: Baratta. Mario von ( ed.). Der Fischer Weltalmanach 1998. Frankfurt / Main: Fischer, 1997. 383.

3: Saunders, Dave. The West Indians in Britain. London: Batsford Academic and Educational, 1984. 20.

4: Daye, Shannon J. Middle Class Blacks in Britain. London, 1994. 10.

Excerpt out of 8 pages


The Current Situatons of Jamicans in the British Labour Market
University of Potsdam  (Institute for Anglistics)
PS "Work and the State of Working Britain"
1,3 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
486 KB
Current, Situatons, Jamicans, British, Labour, Market, Work, State, Working, Britain
Quote paper
Bernd Evers (Author), 2001, The Current Situatons of Jamicans in the British Labour Market, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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