welfare and public services
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi’s judgment of the tone of the referendum debate this morning is worth quoting at length. She said: “This kind of nudge-nudge, wink-wink xenophobic racist campaign may be politically savvy or politically useful in the short term, but it causes long-term damage to communities. “The vision that me and other Brexiters who have been involved right from the outset, who had a positive outward-looking vision of what a Brexit vote might mean, unfortunately those voices have now been stifled and what we see is the divisive campaign which has resulted in people like me and others who are deeply Euro sceptic and want to see a reformed relationship feel that they now have to leave.”
You’d think a group of workers that came to this country bringing along extra rights we can all enjoy would be welcomed with open arms wouldn’t you? Thanks to the free movement of labour rules in the EU we can all share in the right to a minimum paid annual leave entitlement; more rights for agency workers and temps; maternity leave rights and parental leave; equal pay and anti-discrimination rights Front-and-centre of debate The fact of EU workers coming to the UK in increasingly larger numbers is front-and-centre of political debate right now and the outcome could have fundamental implications for the free movement we all enjoy.
The government’s February deal with the EU introduced a ‘four-year ban’ on new migrants from the EU claiming in-work benefits. This is meant to counter the perceived problem of EU nationals relying on the benefits system and seeing it as an attraction to moving to Britain. But is this what’s really happening?
In a month’s time we will reach the first anniversary of the introduction of rules which allowed an ‘Immigration Health Surcharge’ (IHS) to be imposed on all people from outside the EU who come to stay in for a period of 6 months or longer. The power to levy these charge came from a provision of the Immigration Act 2014. It consists of a fee £200 (£150 in the case of students) on the cost of a visa to the UK, paid for each year that the person is in the UK. This means that if you are coming in as a sponsored skilled worker under Tier 2 of the Points-Based Scheme for a period of 3 years an additional £600 (£200 for each year) will be paid up front as a condition of issuing the visa.
The really interesting development over the weekend came from the Labour Party leadership with the prospect that Jeremy Corbyn will shortly be making a speech opposing the ‘emergency brake’ on free movement that the Prime Minister has negotiated with EU President Donald Tusk.