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Belfast

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland. The city of Belfast has a population of 267,374, with 645,536 residents in the wider metropolitan area.  Historically, Belfast has been a centre for the Irish linen industry, tobacco production, rope-making and shipbuilding due to its coastal location on the east of Ireland.  Today, Belfast remains a centre for industry, as well as the arts, higher education and business.  The city has undergone substantial economic growth in recent years with considerable expansion and regeneration in the city centre.

Northern Ireland experienced a surge in the number of migrant workers during the economic boom.  However with the UK in recession, public opinion and access to the labour market has now changed.  

In leading the OPENCities project, Belfast City Council aims to learn how to make Belfast a popular choice with migrants, but also how to educate the local population on the positive effects of immigration.The Migrants Forum is one of the initiatives that Belfast City Council has commissioned in order to develop effective partnership on issues relating to migration. 

The Forum hopes to:

  • explore how to establish links with representatives and members of the various new minority communities across the city
  • improve awareness of migrant worker and minority ethnic issues
  • support the development of community led initiatives that generate understanding and collaboration
  • support migrant communities to settle and support settled communities to adapt to change in their community
  • develop and deliver training programmes aimed at promoting better understanding around issues relating to diversity / inward migration. 
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