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).

Advertisements

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

Research: Migrant impact on UK jobs and wages negligible

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has published a new study suggesting that European migration since EU expansion in 2004  has had no negative impact on either UK employment levels or wages – in fact there may have been a small positive impact.

The Economic Impacts of Migration on the UK Labour Market study is based largely on data from the Labour Force Survey and Department for Work and Pensions figures on national insurance numbers from 2001 to 2007, as well as a review of the existing literature and economic theory. 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

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