British Tamil

British Tamil
"பிரித்தானியத் தமிழர்"
Regions with significant populations
British English · Tamil language
Hinduism · Christianity · Islam
Related ethnic groups
Tamil people · British Asian
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British Tamils (Tamil: பிரித்தானியத் தமிழர்) are British people of Tamil origin. Migration of significant numbers of Tamils to the United Kingdom (UK) started with labour migrants in the 1940s. These were joined by students moving to the UK for education in the 1970s, and by refugees fleeing the Sri Lankan Civil War in the 1980s and 1990s.[1]

"Tamil" is not one of the predefined tick-box answers for the ethnicity question on the UK Census. The tick-box options under the "Asian" category include "Indian", "Pakistani" and "Bangladeshi", but respondents can also tick an "Any other Asian" box and write in their own answer.[2] In the 2011 Census, the number of respondents writing in "Tamil" was 24,930 in England, 128 in Wales,[3] 99 in Scotland[4] and 11 in Northern Ireland.[5] The number of people in England and Wales that speak Tamil as their main language was recorded as 100,689.[6]

In 2008, community estimates suggested that 150,000 Tamils lived in the UK,[1][7] with a 2006 Human Rights Watch report putting the number of Sri Lankan Tamils in the UK at 110,000.[8] A 2009 article in the FT Magazine put the figure at up to 200,000.[9] The majority live in London though. [3][10]

Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 Dissanayake, Samanthi (8 December 2008). "UK Tamils polarised but powerful". BBC News. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  2. "Ethnic Group". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Table CT0010EW 2011 Census: Ethnic group (write-in responses), local authorities in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 30 January 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  4. "Ethnic group (detailed): All people" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  5. "Ethnic group - Full detail: QS201NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  6. Gopal, Deepthi; Matras, Yaron (October 2013). "What languages are spoken in England and Wales?" (PDF). ESRC Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity (CoDE). Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  7. Beeston, Richard (13 June 2008). "Stop Tamil Tigers raising money in UK, says President Rajapaksa". The Times. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  8. "Funding the 'Final War': LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora" (PDF). Human Rights Watch. 14 March 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2009.
  9. Asokan, Shyamantha (16 October 2009). "Young Tamils swap bombs for BlackBerrys". FT Magazine. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  10. Healey, Ruth L. (2014). "Gratitude and hospitality: Tamil refugee employment in London and the conditional nature of integration". Environment and Planning A. 46 (3): 614–628. doi:10.1068/a4655.
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