The Commisceo Global Blog

Keeping you up to date with all the news, articles, tools, opinions and press relating to the world of cultural understanding, in and out of business.

Culture Affects The Language We Use When We Tell Lies

Culture Affects The Language We Use When We Tell Lies

Researchers believe they have discovered a link between someone's culture and the language they use when they are telling porkie pies (Cockney slang for 'lies').

Psychologists, led by Professor Paul Taylor of Lancaster University in the UK, have just published the findings of their research, entitled "Culture moderates changes in linguistic self-presentation and detail provision when deceiving others", in Royal Society Open Science.

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Cultural Diversity Explains Why Americans Smile So Much

Cultural Diversity Explains Why Americans Smile So Much

Researchers believe they have finally disovered why the wide, white-teethed smile is so important in American culture - immigrants and cultural diversity.

Across different cultures, a smile can mean many things. In more expressive cultures such as the USA, where showing emotions is not necessarily a bad thing, and in which hierarchy and social differences are less acute, the smile is a lot more common.

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‘Foreigners’: Tebbit's Language is a Dying Relic of the Past

‘Foreigners’: Tebbit's Language is a Dying Relic of the Past

Seriously, who uses the word ‘foreigners’ as a brush reference to the diverse nationalities living in and beyond the borders of the UK? This word surely is a relic? Something from the past? 

Sitting on my perch last night in my normal nightly semi-comatose state after a hard day's work in front of the TV,  I was aroused from my stupor by the following reaction of Norman Tebbit when discussing the right of EU nationals to remain in the UK post Brexit:

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Why Norway's Cultural Training for Immigrants Left me Cringing

Why Norway's Cultural Training for Immigrants Left me Cringing

Cultural Training that Does More Damage than Good?

As part of an effort to help immigrants settle into life in Norway, cultural awareness courses have been made compulsory.

Watching some of the footage of the content in a short video piece on The Guardian website left me cringing - it really exposed a rather shallow approach to cultural understanding in many senses.

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UK Immigration Laws bad for Business says Legal Sector



Government Introduction of the Immigration Cap
The UK legal sector have recently complained about the new restrictions in UK immigration law.  The changes to law have been well publicized and can be viewed by the public and all interested parties at the UK Border Agency’s website (see below).  These laws and rules represent a continual and politically complex change.  The laws have been in development since at least 2007.  The UK Border Agency also offers a fresh perspective on these in that it has been in existence only since 2008.  The new agency oversees all customs, migration and border issues related to the greater British public.

Why the Government Has Installed the Cap
The government has issued the “cap” as it pledged to do when it formed the new coalition government in 2010.  In effect, when the old government was voted out of office, the new government made itself responsible in holding up its pledges.  One of these pledges concerned immigration reform.  Immigration reform might have been seen as a necessary evil due to the increase in the migrant worker population.  The UK population is increasing and is expected to reach 70 million by calendar year 2030.  It appears that the government has taken on the task of immigration reform as a means of population control.

Impact on UK Business and the Legal Sector
The impact of the new government regulations will have deep and lasting impact on the UK business and legal sectors.  One reason for this is pure economics.  The new standards set forth by the government require that the points needed by migrants be increased from some 80 to 95 points or so.  Most of the points are assigned to the level of income for the migrant worker.  In order to meet 80 points of the requirements, the highly skilled migrant worker must have an income of £150,000 or greater!  This imposes a rather high salary requirement on the legal and other business sectors.  If for example a migrant legal employee is offered a mere £25,000 to work in the sector – that means they will only be furnished with only 5 points in the new immigration system of rules.

Immigration is Vital to UK International Competitiveness
Immigration is of vital importance to the UK in order to maintain its international competitiveness.  By attracting people from other countries and cultures the UK makes itself and internationally attractive place for business. The UK has language, cultural and pratical skills by the very nature of bring in foreign workers. Not many other countries in the world reflect the same mix of business and culture savvy as the UK. The legal sector is well within its right to see the immigration cap as bad for business and bad for the UK.
Other sectors that will feel the pinch include education. Those seeking an education in the country may find themselves limited to seeking it outside of the UK.  As has been pointed out by the BBC news article (“A-Level Results 2010: A* Grade Boosts New Exams Record”), it is becoming very challenging to find even a position at a university.  This may create a prejudice against the UK education and migration systems in the international community.

References

1)    Highly Skilled Workers, Investors and Entrepreneurs – The UK Border Agency’s Web Page (Link: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/tier1/)

2)    Immigration Limit for Tier 1 (General) Of The Points-Based System Web Page (Link: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsfragments/27-intro-limit-for-t1-pbs)

3)    Media Information of the UK Border Agency (Link: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/news-and-updates/media-information/)

4)    Immigration Law Web Page of the UK Border Agency (Link: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/)

5)    ‘Immigration Cap Will “Strangle” City Law Firms, Chancery Warns’, Law Society Gazette, Monday, August 23, 2010 by James Dean (Link: http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/immigration-cap-will-strangle-city-law-firms-chancery-lane-warns-0)

6)    Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules HC-59, June 2010 (Link to pdf: http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/statementsofchanges/2010/hc59.pdf?view=Binary)

7)    EU: Policy, Internal Migrants, Migration News,  July 2010, Volume 17 Number 3 (Link: http://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/more.php?id=3617_0_4_0)

8)    “A-Level Results 2010: A* Grade Boosts New Exams Record”. 19 August 2010, BBC News (Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-11012369)
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"Immigration changes will not cause UK skills exodus"

Multinational firms have rushed to the defence of immigration changes introduced last week, claiming the new rules will "make no difference" to UK employers' ability to attract overseas talent.

The new rules, which came into effect on 6 April, mean skilled migrant workers transferring from an overseas country to work at their company's British offices will no longer be able to clock up time spent in the UK to contribute towards the five years required to apply for permanent residence.

Employment lawyers and migrant campaign groups had warned the changes to the intra-company transfer (ICT) system could cause a skills exodus and put migrants off working in the UK.

Read more > Immigration
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MoJ Translation Spend over £20 million



The Ministry of Justice admitted it has spent more than £20 million pounds on interpreters and translators in the last two years, fuelling concerns over the impact immigration is having on the public purse.

The figure included £11.8 million spent in 2007/08 which was higher than MPs had previously been told in a series of parliamentary written answers.

One, to Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, last year was more than £1 million short of the true figure, while Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, was told spending had been £11.4 million.

Another, in 2008, only had figures for translation services and not interpreters while the fourth suggested more than £28 million had been spent in that year.

Read more > Telegraph
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Immigration report proposals will hinder employers



Employers will find it more difficult to recruit skilled migrants from overseas if the government accepts proposals to further tighten up the immigration system, a law firm has warned.

Alarm bells were sounded by Speechly Bircham following a Migration Advisory Committee report on the points-based immigration system, which outlines how the UK could do more to protect jobs for British workers.

Recommendations include:

*A requirement that migrant workers outside of the EU will earn £20,000 and workers without qualifications will earn at least £32,000
* Increasing the application fees for Tier 2 (the skilled workers category for those from outside the EU)
* Increasing the period that a role has to be advertised in the UK to four weeks
* Increasing the period before an employee can transfer from an overseas branch to the UK via an intra-company transfer from six months to 12 months.

Tracy Evlogidis, head of immigration at Speechly Bircham, said: "It is clear from the recommendations that employers will face an incredibly difficult task in recruiting skilled migrants from overseas, no matter how special they are and who they are.

Read more > Immigration
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Councils spend £50m a year translating documents



It is a well-intended initiative which is meant to offer immigrants a helping hand. Yet now an investigation has found that many of the expensively-produced foreign-language leaflets have never been read.

Documents which have failed to attract a single reader include a pamphlet for gipsies translated into Polish, and a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender directory translated into French.

No-one read the Haringey Women's Directory when it was translated into Albanian, Bengali, Kurdish, Somali or Urdu.

All were made available by Haringey council, in north London, on its website, which records the number of times each document is downloaded.

A spokesman for Haringey Council said: “Haringey has some 193 different languages spoken. We generally offer translations where required rather than translate routinely.

"Where translations are produced they will be made available on our website as an additional service.”

Read more > Telegraph
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The Intercultural Library



Immigrants will now be able to access learning aids in their own language, information about life in their new homeland or literature in their mother tongue in German libraries, thanks to a new intercultural web portal for library users and staff, launched by the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband, dbv).

Via “springboards” for more than 20 languages, the Intercultural Library provides information on stocks of foreign-language books in public libraries in Germany and also links to texts for library work, multilingual glossaries and online dictionaries, multilanguage online information services and other information portals. The library-work-related level comprises texts and links to integration strategies, professional literature, professional forums, organisations and associations, and also practical examples from other libraries at home and abroad. Within this context, special emphasis is laid on topics such as “Life in Germany”, “Promoting reading and writing” and “Health”, experience having shown that demand for information and source texts on these topics is especially high.

Read more > Goethe Institut

What Kwintessential says:

This is an exciting and interesting initiative by the Goethe Institut which addresses the issues of immigration, language, cultural understanding and the integration of foreigners. Such projects should be seen as the way forward for other countries seeking to implement ways of bringing foreigners into the country and having them understand their new neighbours, colleagues and countrymen.
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The Intercultural Library



Immigrants will now be able to access learning aids in their own language, information about life in their new homeland or literature in their mother tongue in German libraries, thanks to a new intercultural web portal for library users and staff, launched by the German Library Association (Deutscher Bibliotheksverband, dbv).

Via “springboards” for more than 20 languages, the Intercultural Library provides information on stocks of foreign-language books in public libraries in Germany and also links to texts for library work, multilingual glossaries and online dictionaries, multilanguage online information services and other information portals. The library-work-related level comprises texts and links to integration strategies, professional literature, professional forums, organisations and associations, and also practical examples from other libraries at home and abroad. Within this context, special emphasis is laid on topics such as “Life in Germany”, “Promoting reading and writing” and “Health”, experience having shown that demand for information and source texts on these topics is especially high.

Read more > Goethe Institut

What Kwintessential says:

This is an exciting and interesting initiative by the Goethe Institut which addresses the issues of immigration, language, cultural understanding and the integration of foreigners. Such projects should be seen as the way forward for other countries seeking to implement ways of bringing foreigners into the country and having them understand their new neighbours, colleagues and countrymen.
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Home Office on course to meet diversity targets

Targets for the recruitment and retention of staff from minority ethnic communities are on course to be met across the core Home Office, a report published today revealed.

The eighth annual Race Employment Targets Report shows progress against the Home Office's 10-year race equality employment targets. The Border and Immigration Agency, Identity and Passport Service, the Forensic Science Service and the core Home Office areas all exceeded their aims.

The news comes just days after a new mentoring scheme aimed at preparing black and minority ethnic (BME) staff for leadership roles in the Civil Service has been put into action.

Read more > Home Office 
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France allows family members to work during an expatriate assignment

France is the latest country to allow family members of skilled international staff to work during an assignment. The changes, which apply to intra-group transfers and a new category for `competences and talents', were part of the 2006 Immigration and Integration Law, implemented in May 2007.

The change is applauded by Permits Foundation, which promotes open work permits for the spouses and partners of international staff worldwide.

Read more: France 
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