Mexicans thrive in the U.K.

After Mexico declared its independence in 1810, Britain was the first major European power to recognise Mexican sovereignty.

Mexico and the United Kingdom have enjoyed a healthy and formal relationship throughout the following years, despite the odd hiccup. Almost two hundred years ago, Mexico’s president, Benito Juarez, advised Great Britain that foreign debt would not be paid for two years, due to the lack of financial fluidity in the country. Unwilling to start a war over the issue, the United Kingdom settled for an IOU promise and continued cultivating a good relationship between both nations. The two countries have enjoyed a positive relationship ever since.

In 1997, Mexico signed a free trade agreement with the European Union, and since the implementation of this agreement in 2000, trade between the two nations has increased dramatically. In 2017, two-way trade deals between Mexico and the UK reached over $4.7 billion USD. Mexico exports a range of products to the UK including parts for the motor industry, beer, gold and electrical equipment. British exports to Mexico include transistors, medicine, alcohol and a variety of other products. The value of Mexico's trade with the UK equated to 7.5% of the total trade within the EU. Between the years of 1999-2012, UK firms invested over $8 billion USD in Mexico.

On 23 June 2011, a group of Mexican entrepreneurs and companies led by Yves Hayaux du Tilly, who is a partner at the London office of Mexican law firm Nader, Hayaux & Goebel, established the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain (MexCC), becoming the first Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Europe, and the second outside Mexico in the world. Mexico’s Ambassador to the UK holds the title of Honorary Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce.

Mexicans work and study in the UK

The UK has not been a traditional destination for Mexicans living outside their country of birth, but the number of Mexican citizens residing in Britain has steadily increased over the last few years. The census of 2011 suggests that about 4000 are now resident in the country. The majority of these live in the Greater Manchester area, the Midlands, Yorkshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and, of course, London. 

The Institute for Mexicans Abroad has registered London as having the largest community of Mexicans in the UK, as well as the most diverse in terms of gender and interests. Many are second-generation immigrants. The data suggests that only 13% of the Mexican community are working, the remainder being dependents, spouses, children or students.

There are also increasing numbers of Mexican citizens living in Suffolk, Brighton and Hampshire, and while many of them are permanently settled, a significant percentage of these (around 40%) are international students, taking advantage of opportunities to study and improve their future career options.

Mexico’s contribution to the cultural life of London

Mexican expatriates have enriched London and the rest of the UK with their country's vibrant culture. The UK’s Mexican food scene is lively, with a plethora of restaurants and bars in most of the larger towns and cities. It goes without saying, that London has a huge number of Mexican restaurants, from fast food taco bars, to celebrity chef, Martha Ortiz’s Ella Canto Restaurant in Park Lane.

A considerable number of organisations exist, which actively seek to promote knowledge of Mexico’s history, culture and art. Mexico Amigo is an example of a group established in 1990 by Mexicans resident in the UK. It promotes all aspects of Mexican life and specialises in fund-raising events. The British Mexican Society was formed by the Mexican Ambassador to the UK in 1942 and welcomes anyone with an interest in Mexico. It is a charitable organisation, which aims to celebrate all aspects of Mexican Culture, from food and drink, to archaeology, art and literature. There is so much that is worth exploring in Mexico’s rich artistic and literary heritage and The Mexican Society is a good place to start.

Postgraduate students established MexSoc UK, an organisation that is active in at least twenty UK Universities, arranging social, sporting, academic and other events. Many students remain in London after finishing their degrees, pursuing their careers in the UK. They seldom forget their roots, and while integrating into the London community, still keep an active voice in Mexican political concerns.