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Survey: Foreigners do not live in isolation in Brno

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Brno, April 13 (CTK) – Foreigners based in Brno do not live in isolation on the fringe of society, they have rather dense networks of interpersonal relations and meet not only compatriots but also Czechs, according to a survey the results of which were presented on Friday.

The survey focused on three communities of foreigners in Brno – Ukrainians, Indians and Arab-speaking people.

Its results will be used to update of the city’s integration strategies, Lenka Safrankova Pavlickova, who is in charge of integration projects at the Brno City Hall, said.

Women integrate slightly better than men, their networks are more varied, the survey showed.

The Arab-speaking community is more closed than Ukrainians and Indians. The Arabs usually stay in the country for shorter periods of time than Ukrainians, which may be one of the main reasons why they have relations with fewer Czechs.

The Arab community is varied, it includes people from different countries and its members help one another less than foreigners from other communities.

Ukrainians are a traditional and biggest ethnic minority in the city. There were 6,670 of them in Brno according to the official data from March 2017. They have frequent contacts with Czechs, Russians and other Ukrainians and they are able to integrate into society rather soon. When they arrive, they face the language barrier, housing problems and the stereotype that all Ukrainians are unskilled labourers.

The Indian community in Brno is growing, it had 360 members at the end of 2016. Indians are often employed by transnational firms as various specialists. They would appreciate it if it was easier to rent a flat in the city, communicate in English in state institutions and buy more kinds of vegetarian food, the survey showed.

The networks of relations are mostly informal, hidden and only seldom have some visible organisational structure. The denser the networks, the better the integration of foreigners and the spread of information.

The survey’s main author, Daniel Topinka, said foreigners from the above three communities living in Brno were not threatened with isolation from majority society.

Brno Deputy Mayor Matej Hollan said the data on the foreigners in the city may help refute some myths about them.

The number of foreigners in Brno, the Moravian capital with about 380,000 inhabitants, rose from about 22,000 to 28,000 over the last five years, mostly thanks to people from other EU countries. Foreigners living in Brno came from 148 countries.

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