Migrants’ Rights Network newsletter

mrntabIn June’s newsletter:

(1) Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill hits the Commons amid protests

(2) MRN releases Irregular Migration report in Parliament on 2nd June

(3) Immigration statistics show drop in A8 nationals coming to UK

(4) Court decision on the right of asylum seekers to work in the UK

(5) Concern about the tone of UKBA publicity materials

(6) Migrants and Climate Change: A Call to Action

(7) Reports and Research

(8) Upcoming Events

(9) Other Announcements

To read the full newsletter, please visit: http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/downloads/newsletters/MRN_Newsletter_Jun09.pdf

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Migration policy, racism and inequality in Scotland

“It strikes me that too often we seek comfort in a Scottish consensus that we are all Jock Tamsons’s  bairns – citizens of a fair and equal nation. We like to think we are free of racism and other inequalities because we prefer that to the truth.  In order to live up to our own self image we have to make the sentiment of our songs real, and openly say ‘this Scotland is not good enough’ , and then work to make it better. Our welcome and behaviour towards newcomers is only the starting point.”

Morag Alexander, Scotland Commissioner, Equality and Human Rights Commission

Continue reading

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).

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

Scottish Migrants Network Conference at STUC

SMN website

Workers Rights are Migrant Rights!

Scottish Migrants Network Hosts Conference at STUC

As the recession begins to bite across Scotland it is vital that all workers, including migrants, are aware of their rights at work. The Scottish Migrants Network (SMN) sponsored a half-day conference for migrant workers and support organisations in Scotland to share policy and practice five years after accession. The conference saw the launch of a new poster campaign to raise awareness of basic employment rights for migrant workers. Continue reading

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

Crusade against the undocumented

Every day, across the UK, aggressive raids are being carried out at workplaces to root out those without papers.

Britain’s ethnic restaurant sector is under attack from government officials who, in their single-minded drive to meet ever higher targets for deportation, have no interest in the impact of their policies on small family businesses or the effect on Britain’s high streets. Workplace immigration raids, and raids on the homes of low-paid care workers and cleaners, carried out in unprecedented numbers and resulting in unprecedented rates of removal of people for transgressing immigration laws, see family assets wiped out, families criminalised, and skilled and hard working men and women jailed or deported.

Every day, somewhere in the UK, immigration officers, often with police, frequently wearing stab-proof vests, surround High Street restaurants, takeaways and convenience stores, seal exits and storm in…
Read full article: By Frances Webber, published by IRR
http://www.irr.org.uk/2009/february/ha000011.html