Worker Registration Scheme extended for 2 years

Despite evidence that the Worker Registration Scheme leads to violations of human rights, putting vulnerable workers at more risk of exploitation and abuse, the UK Government has decided to extend the scheme for a further two years.

In a press release issued today, Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas was “delighted to announce keeping in place restrictions … which limit Eastern Europeans’ access to benefits.”

This means that people from eight European Union countries can (for a fee of £90) continue to excercise their rights as EU citizens to work and pay taxes in the UK, but, unlike UK citizens working in Europe, will have no right to state assistance should they need it.

So the worker who loses his job may become homeless and destitute, with no housing benefit of homeless assistance while he looks for work. And the woman with a violent partner may find no sanctuary. These are just two of the examples highlighted by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commision in it’s evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee, calling for the WRS to be scrapped.

The UK will become one of only five of the 27 EU member states to keep restrictions on the rights of “A8” nationals, those citizens of the countries which joined the European Union in 2004 (the other countries with restrictions are Denmark, Belgium, Austria and Germany).

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Worker Registration Scheme: ‘abuse of human rights’

More questions, more calls for it’s abolition, but no answers yet on the WRS

The MP for Glasgow South West has submitted a written question as to the future of the WRS, on behalf of a Glasgow Polish residents association. We await a response from the Minister.

Meanwhile, the Lords have been asking questions, amid evidence that the scheme leads to human rights abuses. Continue reading

End of the Worker Registration Scheme?

About 10 months ago I wrote a post on the Worker Registration Scheme (WRS), speculating on it’s planned demise come May 1st 2009.

As May Day approaches, that old post has been getting more and more hits;  presumably people are searching the web trying to find out if the WRS really is about to end. Is it worth paying £90 to register your employment for a couple of months?  That was the question a settled Polish worker asked of me the other day, in regard to his recently arrived son (adding that many people don’t bother registering these days anyway).

No one seems to know for sure if the WRS will end on May 1st. You can vote on what you think will happen in our wee poll at the end of this message, but first…

To recap…

Continue reading

Switzerland opens borders to Bulgarian and Romanian workers

From EUobserver: Swiss voters on Sunday (8 February) overwhelmingly approved the extension of the free movement of workers to Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

According to official figures, 59.6 percent of voters were in favour, despite a strongly anti-immigrant No campaign run by the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP), depicting foreigners as black crows picking at the country’s flag.

full article>>>

EU sanctions against employers of undocumented migrants

New European Union rules aim to crackdown on employers who expolit undocumented migrant workers, but migrant rights groups are worried that the imminent legislation retains the focus on the status of the migrant, rather than the exploitation by the employer.

Under the Employers Sanctions Directive, employers hiring undeclared workers would face sanctions, including fines and paying back wages to their workers amounting to “at least the wage provided for by the applicable laws on minimum wages, collective agreements or practices in the relevant occupational branches.” Continue reading

EU states open up to Bulgarian, Romanian workers

The New Year has brought with it the lifting of restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers in Greece, Spain and Denmark, but a number of EU states will be keeping barriers to their labour markets for three more years.

Greece on Wednesday (31 December) became the latest “old” EU member to lift restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian workers, following Spain and Denmark which set the example earlier in December. Continue reading

EU states not applying free movement rules

EU member states’ implementation of rules on free movement and residence  has been “rather disappointing,” the European Commission said on Wednesday (10 December).

Directive 2004/38 provides a single legal instrument on free movement of EU citizens and their family members.

A new EC report reveals persistent violation of the core rights of EU citizens, mostly related to:

  • the right of entry and residence of third country family members (problems with entry visas or when crossing the border, conditions attached to the right of residence not foreseen in the Directive and delayed issue of residence cards),
  • the requirement for EU citizens to submit with the applications for residence additional documents not foreseen in the Directive.

Continue reading