Talking Point - ‘Foreigners are treated differently here’

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With the Stephen Lawrence case opening up a general debate on racism, the Journal spoke to a number of foreign nationals about their experience.

Italian Laura Giacini, who lives in the Waterside, reported an experience that many locals may be shocked to read.

“I don’t think Derry is overtly racist - there are no race riots, or fights due to colour. But if racisim is treating people differently due to race or ethnicity, then yes, that happens here. People do not treat foreigners in the same way they do locals. I’ve been treated differently in three different jobs, having to work longer hours for lower salary. I had to accept things that a local would never have accepted or been asked to. I accepted it as I felt vulnerable in a new country.”

Ms. Giacini, who now works as a support worker for those who move to Ireland, added: “That is a common experience. People complain they are treated differently even by the medical profession. One person who moved here from within the European Union was told they needed a visa to register for a doctor. Those arriving don’t have the language, knowledge or confidence at first and the way in which you are treated can be frustrating.”

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