Migrants Deserve Fair Treatment


Speaking at the Hands Off My Workmate final rally at the School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) main campus, 10 Thornhaugh St, London, WC1H 0XG on Saturday 17 October where IAS staff were giving individual advice to migrants Keith Best, Chief Executive of IAS, said that the Government needs to recognise that there are thousands of workers such as cleaners doing valuable jobs even though many may be in the UK as illegal overstayers.
“The Government’s answer to illegal workers is to find them and then remove them at great public expense without thought for who may fill those jobs now that the Eastern Europeans are going home” he said. “The Government will not allow anyone from outside the European Economic Area to come here for low-skilled work. Moreover, the ban on returning to the UK for ten years if deported from the UK only locks in those who might otherwise have gone home and sought a return through a lawful immigration route: there is no incentive for them to return.
“At the rally we heard via video link from Lara now back in Colombia. She was one of the cleaners who had worked at SOAS and who was removed after it was raided by the UK Border Agency. She said clearly that she was removed with only 75p to her name – not even enough to get to her home in Colombia from the airport – and that she had not been paid for her last work. Yet the letter from the UK Border Agency setting out their version of the facts states clearly that “all those arrested and removed were given seventy-two hours notification of their proposed removal.Care was taken to ensure that the individuals removed were given time to pack their belongings.”
“Of all the 261 civil penalties against employers in London and the South which are listed on the UK Border Agency website most employers are found to be employing only one or two illegal workers. Only one had as many as 34; one had 19, one had 6 and four had 5. This is not the most effective way of finding the estimated 500,000 illegal workers in the UK and raids are expensive.
“The only sensible, sustainable and humane solution is to have an earned regularisation programme whereby those who are making an economic contribution to the UK are given limited leave to remain and brought above the parapet to pay taxes and escape exploitation of less than the minimum wage by unscrupulous employers, thereby undercutting other workers.”
by IAS

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