Au pair/domestic workers in the UK are entitled to the National Minimum Wage

We were approached recently by a client who was a live-in domestic worker. She had been working approximately 60 hours per week, and receiving payment amounting to £1.92 per hour – well below the national minimum wage of £8.72 per hour. Her employer suggested that the worker was not entitled to the national minimum wage, because of the ‘au pair/domestic worker’ exemption.

Our support and recommendation

In order to clarify her legal entitlements, EERC immediately contacted solicitors from the Anti-Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit (ATLEU). ATLEU have confirmed that in accordance with the latest case law (Puthenveettil v Alexander & George, & Others 2361118/2013) the exemption is likely to be found unlawful. As a result, according to a recent article published in The Guardian, the UK Government has now asked the Low Pay Commission to make recommendations for amending the exemption in accordance with the judgment.

“The exemption, which was originally designed to apply to au pairs, applies to workers who live in an employer’s family home and are treated “as a member of the family” and benefit from accommodation and meals. But the tribunal heard that the rule has also been applied to maids and other servants, many of whom are migrants.“ As advised by ATLEU, “[t]his is a loophole that has been a conduit to slavery. Traffickers have used [it] to bring in women to households who suffer all kinds of abuses.”

Whilst changes to the exemption are to be made, in the meantime the suggestion that live in domestic workers are not entitled to the national minimum wage should be resisted.

EERC Covid19 Emergency Appeal

We are raising money for an emergency fund to help vulnerable members of our community who are at extreme risk of destitution, and cannot afford food or other essential items at the moment. 

PLEASE DONATE HERE 

All of us have been hit hard by this pandemic. It is not a surprise that in these times, our biggest concern is our health and the health of our loved ones. At EERC we’re helping the most vulnerable and most affected members of our Eastern European communities.

The vulnerable members of our East European migrant community have to confront themselves as well with financial troubles, having been laid off, or struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table. These are people who are dealing with isolation, and additional obstacles to find alternative work.

Many of the people we support don’t qualify for any of the government’s schemes and are already falling through the cracks: homeless people, single mothers who’ve had to stop working to take care of their children, workers who have been laid off, or whose employer won’t apply for the government scheme, very destitute people who live in overcrowded accommodation where it is impossible to self-isolate, or older people who are struggling with isolation, their mental health, panic, and anxiety.

Our charity is here to help. Since this crisis began we’ve already helped over 400 people with job and benefits applications, advice and information. However, some really vulnerable people simply need direct help with money to pay for food.

We want to raise money for an emergency fund to help those in really desperate situations, who cannot afford food or other essential items at the moment.

We’ve been doing our best, but now we need your support too, and the support of wider Eastern European communities.

Please give what you can today, every contribution counts. All of the money donated through this campaign will go straight to the destitute people who need it most.

Now is the time to donate, come together, and offer a vital lifeline for people who need it most!

PLEASE DONATE HERE 

Last update: 01/01/2021

Settled Status

If you’re an EU citizen, you and your family have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) to continue living in the UK. It’s free to apply and we can help you to do it. All our advisors are certified with the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner.
We are offering our service to elders, people who are not comfortable using technologies, don’t have sufficient knowledge of English or anyone who is not sure about their situation. Our help is free.

What you need to apply?

+ a valid passport (preferable) or ID card
+ an active mobile phone
+ an active email address that you can access
+ National Insurance Number (NIN), if you have one

If you want to apply for your child, you will need their birth certificate.
If you have been granted permanent residence you still need to apply. You will need the number of your Permanent Residence Card or Document Certifying Permanent Residency.

During an application the Home Office will run an automated check of your residency based on your NIN. If there are any gaps in your history you will be asked to provide proof of your residence in the UK (e.g. bank statements, payslips, P45, council tax bills, utility bills, etc.)

Don’t wait to apply. Even if you think your case is complicated we will work with you to provide you with the best advice.

Free advice and support is available for:
+ People with disabilities or with long-term health issues
+ Elderly people
+ Victims of domestic violence
+ Homeless people and people in difficult housing situation
+ Victims of modern slavery
+ The Roma communities
+ Other vulnerable Eastern Europeans

More information:  https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families/applying-for-settled-status


Jeżeli jesteś obywatelem Unii Europejskiej, ty i twoja rodzina musicie zaaplikować o Status Osiedlony, aby móc pozostać w Wielkiej Brytanii po brexicie. Aplikacja jest bezpłatna, możemy pomóc ci ją wypełnić.
Nasze biuro udziela pomocy osobom starszym, wszystkim którzy nie czują się komfortowo z technologią, nie znają dobrze angielskiego lub mają wątpliwości związane z swoją sytuacją. Nasza pomoc jest bezpłatna.

Co musisz mieć, aby zaaplikować?

+ ważny paszport (preferowany) lub dowód osobisty
+ aktywny numer telefonu
+ dostęp do aktywnego adresu email
+ National Insurance Number (NIN), jeżeli posiadasz

Jeżeli chcesz złożyć aplikację dla swojego dziecka, potrzebny będzie akt urodzenia dziecka.
Jeżeli została ci przyznana rezydentura stała, potrzebny będzie numer dokumentu potwierdzającego twój status.

Podczas aplikacji Home Office sprawdzi dane z HMRC i DWP. Jeżeli nie będzie można potwierdzić twojego pobytu w Wielkiej Brytanii zostaniesz poproszony o dostarczenie dodatkowych dokumentów potwierdzających, że mieszkałeś w tym czasie w Wielkiej Brytanii (np. wyciągi z banku, rachunki domowe, P45).

Nie zwlekaj ze swoją aplikacją. Nawet jeżeli wydaje Ci się, że twoja sprawa jest skomplikowana, postaramy się znaleźć dla Ciebie najlepsze rozwiązanie.

Darmowa pomoc jest dostępna dla:
+ osób niepełnosprawnych oraz osób z chorobami przewlekłymi
+ osób starszych
+ ofiar przemocy domowej
+ osób bezdomnych lub będących w trudnej sytuacji mieszkaniowej
+ ofiar współczesnego niewolnictwa
+ społeczności Romskiej
+ innych osób z Europy Wschodniej, które mogą mieć trudności z samodzielnym wypełnieniem aplikacji.

Więcej informacji: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/settled-status-for-eu-citizens-and-their-families-translations.pl


Ca cetățean al Uniunii Europene, aveți obligația de a vă înregistra în Programul de Rezidență Permanentă pentru cetățenii UE (EUSS) pentru a putea locui în Marea Britanie cu forme legale. Înregistrarea este gratuită iar centrul nostru vă poate ajuta. Oferim asistență persoanelor în vârstă, celor care nu se pot descurca cu procesul de înregistrare pe internet, care nu au cunoștințe suficiente de limba engleză sau nu sunt siguri de situația lor actuală. Toți specialiștii noștri sunt autorizați de către Oficiul Serviciilor de Imigrație (OISC). Ajutorul nostru este gratuit.

De ce aveți nevoie pentru a vă înregistra?

+ Un pașaport valabil (de preferat) sau Cartea de Identitate
+ Un număr de telefon mobil activ la care aveți acces în momentul înregistrării
+ O adresă de email activă pe care o puteți accesa în momentul înregistrării
+ Număr de asigurare național (NINO) – dacă aveți.

Dacă depuneți cererea și pentru copilul dumneavoastră, veți avea nevoie de certificatul de naștere.
Este obligatoriu să vă înregistrați chiar dacă aveți deja card de rezidență permanentă. Veți avea nevoie de card sau de numărul de înregistrare al documentului care atestează dreptul de rezidență.
În timpul procesului de înregistrare, Ministerul de Interne (Home Office) vă va verifica automat dreptul de rezidență în baza de date pe baza numărului NINO. Dacă există întreruperi în istoricul rezidenței dumneavoastră în Marea Britanie, va trebui să oferiți dovezi suplimentare ale șederii continue (ca de exemplu extras bancar, fluturaș de salariu, formular P45, facturi de la primărie – council tax, facturi de la utilități – electricitate, apă, gaze, etc).

Nu amânați înregistrarea. Chiar dacă situația dumneavoastră este una complicată, vă putem ajuta și oferi sfaturile potrivite.

Oferim ajutor gratuit:
+ Persoanelor cu dizabilități sau cu probleme de sănătate cronice
+ Persoanelor în vârstă
+ Victimelor violenței domestice
+ Persoanelor fără adăpost sau cu o situație financiară grea
+ Victimelor sclaviei moderne
+ Persoanelor de etnie romă
+ Altor persoane vulnerabile din Europa de est.

Mai multe informații: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/settled-status-for-eu-citizens-and-their-families-translations.ro


Európai Uniós állampolgárként, Önnek és családjának is kérvényeznie kell a letelepedési engedélyt amennyiben továbbra is az Egyesült Királyságban kíván/nak élni.
A jelentkezés ingyenes. Amennyiben segítségre szorul, ingyenes segítségnyújtással állunk rendelkezésére. Minden tanácsadónk szakképzett és rendelkezik a Bevándorlási Hivatal Megbízottja (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) hivatalos oklevelével.
Szolgáltatásunk elérhető az idősebb korosztály, illetve azok számára, akik nem jártasak a modern technológiai eszközök használatában, akik nem rendelkeznek elegendő angol nyelvtudással, valamint akik nem biztosak bevándorlási helyzetüket illetően. A segítségnyújtás ingyenes.

A jelentkezéshez szükséges dokumentumok:
+ érvényes útlevél (ajánlott) vagy személyazonosító igazolvány
+ aktív mobil telefonszám
+ aktív e-mail cím, amelyhez van hozzáférése
+ társadalombiztosítási szám (NI number), amennyiben rendelkezik ilyennel

Gyermeke/i jelentkezési kérelméhez születési anyakönyvi kivonat is szükséges.
Állandó tartózkodási engedély (permanent residence) birtokában sem mentesül a jelentkezés alól. Ebben az esetben a jelentkezéshez feltétlenül hozza magával az engedélyt igazoló kártyát (permanent residence card) vagy az állandó tartózkodást igazoló egyéb dokumentumot.
A jelentkezés benyújtását követően a Belügyminisztérium egy, a társadalombiztosítási számon alapuló automatikus ellenőrzést végez, annak érdekében, hogy megbizonyosodjon tartózkodása folyamatosságáról. Amennyiben bárminemű hézag merül fel, további bizonyítékok beadása szükséges a kérelem elbírálásához (például bankszámlakivonat, fizetési papír, P45-ös dokumentum, helyi adó kivetéséről szóló számla, közüzemi számla, stb.)

Ne késlekedjen a jelentkezéssel. Akármilyen bonyolult is az ügye, ügyintézőink arra törekednek, hogy megtalálják rá a lehető legjobb megoldást.

Ingyenes tanácsadás és szolgáltatás elérhető:
+ mozgássérült/mozgáskorlátozott vagy hosszú távú egészségügyi problémával küzdők,
+ idősek,
+ családon belüli erőszak áldozatai,
+ hajléktalanok, vagy lakhatási nehézséggel küzdők,
+ modernkori rabszolgamunka áldozatai,
+ roma kisebbség,
+ egyéb kelet-közép-európai rászorulók számára.

 

EUSS and vulnerable Eastern Europeans: lessons learnt

Since November last year, East European Resource Centre has been supporting our communities with the settled status application. We have also opened our EUSS centre, after we were granted Home Office Funding, in May this year.

We gathered these observations and user feedback through outreach to churches, schools, homeless day centres, and other similar organisation as well as through routine advice and assistance delivery in our offices. It’s based on 650 interactions with users in the period of between 4 December 2018 and 2 July 2019.

We analysed the take up on EUSS among disadvantages eastern Europeans, accessibility of the application process, assistance provision for such users, the EUSS as an online product, the application window deadline and so on.

This report presents initial areas of concern in relation to the EU Settlement Scheme collected in the process of outreach and delivery of information, advice and assistance to disadvantaged and vulnerable Eastern Europeans in relation to the EU Settled Status (EUSS).

Read the full report here:  EUSS-and-vulnerable-East-Europeans-lessons-learnt

Do you have any questions about the settled status? Please contact us at euss@eerc.org.uk

What is modern slavery?

For many of us, “slavery” brings to mind ancient or colonial times. We rarely realise that slavery still thrives today and that human trafficking is one of the most profitable crimes in the world. Modern slavery, which at first glance may seem like bad employment practice, is a serious offence, with convicted perpetrators sometimes facing life imprisonment under British law.

What is modern slavery?

Modern slavery can be defined as a situation in which an employee cannot choose their employer and is forced to work through coercion, threats, punishment, blackmail, or deception. The victim very often is barely paid (e.g. £50 per week) if at all. As a result, victims cannot live independently or maintain tenancies and are forced to live in places controlled by their employers, often alongside many others. The same ’employer’ or their associates may also arrange meals and transportation to and from the workplace, with deductions for these services taken out of victims’ meagre wages. As a consequence, victims can fall into debt and become dependent on their employers, without no way out in sight.

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates 40.3 million people globally are victims of modern slavery, 136,000 of which are in the UK alone. Migrant workers very often fall prey as poverty forces them to accept any job. There are also those who are responsible for recruiting potential victims in their home countries and persuading them to work for an employer in the UK.

How to recognise modern slavery

Modern slavery exists in many job sectors, but it especially affects workers with fewer qualifications or English skills. Common instances are in the construction, food, agriculture, and manufacturing industries, or in car washes and nail bars. Exploitation often takes place very close to us, in the house next door, at a car wash we use, or in our local fast food restaurant. Many victims have dealt with or heard about employers who only pay some of the wages they owe, often very late, or who control their employees’ ID documents or bank accounts for so-called ‘security’ purposes.

Debt slavery” is another common form of modern slavery: the victim is forced into debt bondage, with debts having arisen from travel or recruitment fees. These debts are often inflated, making them impossible to pay off, so that the victim can be controlled for as long as possible.

Women too can be victims of modern slavery, especially domestic workers or childminders, who can be forced into domestic servitude – they are always ‘on call’, working long hours without days off, and are not allowed to leave the employer’s house without permission. Often, they are subjected to violence or are coerced into sexual activities. Sometimes, marriages are arranged between a victim and the citizen of a non-EU country so that the latter can obtain a UK visa.

Modern slavery is very often linked to organised crime. Criminals look for victims amongst the homeless, forcing victims to commit illegal acts such as thefts, begging, or financial and benefit fraud. Victims of modern slavery are often people with learning disabilities or mental illnesses, as they can be easier to control. What makes modern slavery more attractive to criminals than handling stolen goods or smuggling drugs or guns, is that the victims can be repeatedly exploited in a number of ways.

The UK government programme to support victims

In 2009, the UK introduced a scheme to help victims of modern slavery and human trafficking – the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). A potential victim can be referred to the NRM through the police, local authorities, or several charities such as the Salvation Army, Migrant Help, Medaille Trust, or Unseen. If the person is reasonably believed to be a victim, they will receive shelter away from the perpetrator, an assigned caseworker, and a £65 per week allowance. Accommodation is provided for a minimum of 45 days, during which the victim has the opportunity to rest and recover. In the meantime, the circumstances of the case are investigated and a final “Conclusive Grounds” decision is reached as to whether the exploitation amounted to modern slavery. If the decision is positive, the victim is entitled to receive further support; if not, the person is given several days to leave the shelter and seek alternate arrangements.

The East European Resource Centre supports Polish and Romanian victims of modern slavery in London

Unfortunately, some victims are distrustful of UK authorities and are reluctant to enter the NRM. In addition, due to language barriers, many are unable to explain what they have been through or seek support.

Our project offers support in Polish and Romanian to potential victims of modern slavery. We can help victims enter the NRM or offer further support to those who choose not to: our assistance is tailored to the victim’s needs and may include help finding accommodation, contacting family, finding employment, claiming benefits, seeking legal advice, or accessing free English lessons and employability skills courses.

To learn more about how we can help, please contact us on 0800 121 4226 (freephone) or email slavery@eerc.org.uk.

If you notice signs of modern slavery around you – act!

If you suspect someone is involved in modern slavery in the UK, you can anonymously report it on the Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700 or at https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/report. You can also report it to local police.

Brexit and the Settled Status

Settled status guide

12 April 2019 is the date when Great Britain is due to exit the EU. EU citizens living in the UK will have to apply for “settled status” to be able to remain in the UK.

Dla języka polskiego: Brexit guide PL

Pentru Română: BREXIT Guide RO

At this moment we don’t know if UK exits the EU with a dead or no deal.

However, EU citizens’ rights have been agreed upon and secured even in an event of no deal Brexit. According to the plan of a no deal exit, published in December 2018, the government will continue to implement what it calls the “EU settlement scheme”.

There is already a legal basis for the EU Settlement Scheme – Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules, laid before Parliament under section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971. Any status granted under the scheme since the start of the first private beta phase on 28 August 2018 is a lawful UK immigration status and will remain so in both a ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenario. This is an explicit assurance we received when we enquired with the Home Office about the future of the EUSS in various Brexit scenarios.

Settled status under the scheme is technically indefinite leave to remain (ILR) which currently would expire after more than two years’ absence from the UK. Parliament will need in due course to agree the required change to secondary legislation on this point, contained in the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000, but if and when it does so, that change will automatically apply to all ILR already granted under the scheme – no further application will be required and the ILR will turn into an EUSS with a five-year expiration period (which is one of he key differences between ILR and EUSS.)

If you have settled status, you should be able to spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. This is still subject to approval by Parliament.

If you have pre-settled status, you can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing your status. You will need to maintain your continuous residence if you want to qualify for settled status.

Depending on the terms of Brexit (deal or no deal) the some aspects of the EU settlement scheme will differ.

A. What is it about?

In case of a deal:

  1. EU citizens and any of their non-EU family members who, by 31st December 2020, have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible for “settled status” enabling them to stay indefinitely.
  2. EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31st December 2020, but will not yet have been continuously resident here for five years, will be eligible for “pre-settled status”. This allows them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  3. EU citizens and their family members with settled status or pre-settled status will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
  4. Close family members who are not living in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be able to join their EU family member in the UK at any point in the future, as long as the relationship still exists. Children born or adopted after 31 December 2020, and future dependants, will also have their rights protected.

In case of a no deal:

  1. EU citizens and any of their non-EU family members who, by 12th April 2019, have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible for “settled status” enabling them to stay indefinitely.
  2. EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 12th April 2019, but will not yet have been continuously resident here for five years, will be eligible for “pre-settled status”. This allows them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
  3. EU citizens and their family members with settled status or pre-settled status will have the same access as they currently do to healthcare, pensions and other benefits in the UK.
  4. Close family members (a spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) living overseas will still be able to join an EU citizen resident here until 12 April 2022. This is so long as the relationship existed on the date of Brexit. Future children are also protected.

B. Who has to apply?

All EU citizens and their non EU family members living in the UK. If you already have British citizenship, you won’t need to apply. If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, you don’t have to apply, but you can. If you have a permanent residency card, you will have to apply, but the application will be very simple, you will just change your PR card for settled status.

If your children are born in the UK, and you already have permanent right to reside here (been here for at least 5 years), your children might be entitled for naturalisation without applying for settled status. Please contact an immigration adviser before applying for your children.

C. When to apply?

The application process is open for all EU citizens and their family members with a biometric passport from 21st of January 2019, albeit it’s still in a testing phase.

From April 2019 the application will be opened for everyone.

The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021, (or, if the UK leaves without a deal, before 31 December 2020).

D. How much does it cost?

The prime minister announced that the fees will be scrapped beginning April. At the moment application costs £65 for adults and £32 for children under 16. Applications made between 21 January and 30 March 2019 will have to be paid for, but refunded, whereas applications after 30 March 2019 will be entirely free.

 

E. What will you need?

The settled status application is an online application only.

  1. Proof of identity  – a passport or a national ID card. You can prove your identity and nationality via a Home Office mobile app, that is for Android phones only, and for biometric IDs. If these are not available to you, you can send your ID to the Home Office, via post. Until april 2019, only EU citizens with biometric passports can apply, and the ID check can only be made through the mobile app, not by post. From April the application process will be open to everyone.
  2. Proof of residency in the UK – you need to prove whether you have been residing in UK, or if you are a family member of a EU citizen.
  3. Criminality check – a criminal background check will be made, and you need to declare if you had any serious criminal convictions.

F. Application steps

  1. Mobile app – The app will ask for your email and phone number
  • Download the app from Google Play and install
  • Scan passport by putting the phone on the passport
  • Scan face
  • Take a photo of your face

2. Online form

  • Once the ID check is done, you will receive a link to the online form, which you can complete on the smartphone or on a computer.
  • The “identity” and “digital photo” sections will show up as “completed” already, because that is done via the app.
  • The applicant will need to fill in the sections on “application type”, “residence in the UK” and “criminal convictions”.

3. Application type

  • Firstly you will need to provide information about your nationality, how many do you have. For example, if you were born in ex Yugoslavia and that was your nationality, you need to state that fact.
  • Then you will have to say if you had a Permanent Residency card or if you already have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

4. Residence in the UK

  • You will have to provide an address, your previous names (if any)
  • NINo – you should provide them with your NINo which will allow the application to check the history you have with HMRC or DWP . If there is no history with these institutions, you can provide additional evidence which to be uploaded online. (see section H)

5. Criminal convictions

  • All applicants will be subject to criminality and security checks. You will have to self-declare your criminal convictions (without having to submit evidence).
  • In addition, though, the Home Office will carry out its own checks through the Police National Computer (PNC) and the Warnings Index (WI). The immigration minister told Parliament on 21 June 2018 that self-declaration is for anyone over 18 and Home Office checks for everyone over the age of ten.
  • If you have a serious conviction you may be refused settled status. For more details about what  a serious criminal conviction means, please contact an immigration adviser.

After all these sections are completed, you need to submit the answers. Before you can submit the whole application, you need to go through 2 more steps:

  1. Setting and answering a series of security questions (these will be used in case you lose your phone or email and therefore you lose access to your digital status)
  2. Pay the fee £65 (applicable only until April 2019) – your fee will be refunded after April.

G. Possible outcomes:

After you submit your answers you will get a screen that could have a few possible answers. The application uses your NINo to check history with DWP and HMRC (from 2012 onwards)

  1. If you have been in the UK for more than 5 years and your HMRC data and DPW confirmed that automatically, you will get the screen saying: “You will be considered for settled status” . If you agree, you can submit the application
  2. If you have been in the UK for less than 5 years, you will receive a screen saying: “You will be considered for pre-settled status” . If you agree, you can submit.
  3. If you have been in the UK for more than 5 years, but you know that you have gaps with HMRC or DPW, you can submit further evidence (see section H). The application should state the years that have gaps in them, so you can upload the necessary evidence.

The system itself is not 100% accurate. People with history with HMRC or DWP may receive a message stating that they need to upload more evidence. If you know that you have history with these governmental institutions but you are still requested to upload more evidence, don’t be anxious, the problem is with the system, not your application.

H. Proof of evidence

If you know that you have gaps longer than 6 months with HMRC or DWP, such as your benefits stopped or you were economically inactive, or if the application cannot read your HMRC or DWP data, you can upload further evidence to be able to obtain settled status.

All the documents you submit as evidence must be dated and should have your name on.

You should only provide one piece of evidence to cover each month or longer period of time.

Use documents that cover longer periods of time wherever possible, such as bank statements, council tax bills or university letters and certificates. These will confirm your residence for the entire period of time they cover, so you will need to submit fewer of them.

A document with a single date on will count as proof of residence for that month only, for example an electricity bill, official letter or GP appointment card.

Examples of documents you can bring:

– annual bank statement or account summary

– P60s and P45s

– council tax bills

– letters or certificates from your school, college, university

– documents showing a UK address from a student finance body in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland or from the Student Loans Company

– letters from a registered care home confirming your residence there]

– employer pension contributions

– annual business accounts of a self-employed person

– payslips for a UK-based job

– water, gas or electricity bills which show a UK address

– landline or mobile telephone, TV or internet bills showing a UK address

– domestic bills, such as for home repairs, vet’s services or insurance, and evidence of payment

– cards or letters from your GP or other healthcare professional confirming appointments you have made or attended

– letters from government departments, other public services or charities that show you dealt with them on a particular date or for a particular period (for example Job Centre Plus or Citizens Advice)

You cannot use:

– photos and videos

– letters or references from family and friends

– greeting cards, for example birthday cards postcards sent or received personal scrapbooks

I. Decision

After you submit your application you will receive a confirmation email. No matter what the last step said (you will be considered for settled or pre-settled status) that is not your final decision. You will receive this through an email at a later date. It can take a few days, or a few weeks.

Meanwhile, your Home Office case worker might be in touch to request evidence or to ask more questions.

Do you want to apply for settled status or have any questions regarding it? Don’t hesitate to contact us at 0800 121 4226 or email us at voice@eerc.org.uk

We have experienced immigration advisers and are registered with OISC.

Dla języka polskiego: Brexit guide PL

Pentru Română: BREXIT guide RO

Looking back and and going forward

Happy new year!

EERC team is back at work and already really busy. Between Brexit, universal credit, funding applications, new projects and business as usual, we predict a very busy and interesting year ahead.

Over the last year, at EERC, we’ve met many people who have moved to the UK to pursue their dream of a decent life. We supported hundreds of people to access welfare benefits, employment advice, mentoring, finding work, learn English, improve their health and get involved in their communities.  

We are proud of our staff, volunteers and our beneficiaries for the amazing year we had in 2018.  It’s time to draw the line, learn and move forward with everything we’ve got, we have interesting times ahead of us.

At the end of last year we have been part of the Private Pilot scheme for settled status and supported over 70 people through the application. This was a culmination of a year long process consulting Home Office regarding settled status and vulnerable migrants. Being part of the private beta was really constructive, we have learned so much and we are confident that the feedback provided to HO will be very helpful in improving how vulnerable people interact with the process, as well as reaching out to disadvantaged communities. We will publish a full report on the settled status application soon, so watch this space.

December was also the month when Universal Credit came live in all of the London boroughs. Our senior advisers are working really hard on new applications, the process is not an easy one and the majority of people are unaware of what UC entails. We are preparing new projects and campaigns regarding UC and how to make it easier for disadvantaged Eastern Europeans to access it, and we’ll be back with more details soon.

Furthermore, just before the Christmas Holidays we received an early Christmas present, the immigration white paper. We have received signals that the paper was going in the direction revealed on the 19th of December for a while, so it came as no big surprise.

The new skills based immigration system, which marks the end of free movement, upset many people and rightly so. The plans presented by the British government increase the risk of labour exploitation of employees, while limiting the possibility of social integration.

According to these proposals, low-skilled migrant workers – including people employed in cafes, shops, factories, in the construction industry, or in care – would be permitted to come and work in the UK on annual visas and will have to apply for a work permit. Really worrying is that they will not be able to access welfare benefits, and will not gain the right to settle here or bring family members with them. After an annual visa ends, people will need to wait another 12 months before re-applying for another work visa.

We strongly believe that migrants on such visas have no chance of social integration, even for the short period they are here. People will be completely alienated from British society and will focus on maximising their earnings, in detriment to their standards of living, their health, and ultimately, the British society.

Moreover, this will produce the perfect environment for exploitation of migrants, especially with the current poor enforcement of workers’ rights; exploitation from employers, gangmasters, landlords and so on. Such work visas were in place in the first years after A1 and A2 countries accession to the EU, when many Eastern Europeans overpaid for support to be able to navigate the bureaucracy.

The model of low skilled visas will have a negative legal effect on the immigration status of european migrants, workers will become tied to their employers and therefore more susceptible to exploitation. Overall, creating a negative atmosphere around low skilled migration will lead to tensions between migrants and the host country.

According to the same proposals presented in December, a separate system would apply to highly qualified persons who, sponsored by employers, would be able to apply for five-year visas. This would open up the road to full access to accessing welfare benefits and obtaining resident rights required, for example, if interested in applying for British citizenship. The minimum earning threshold will be £30.000/ year, which is high and potentially discouraging for migrants, even if they are highly skilled.

Here at EERC, we believe that how much a person earns is not an indication of a person’s skills, their potential, or what the economy and society need to thrive. Industries like farming, hospitality and social care are particularly dependent on people who earn below threshold. In fact, nearly 65% of the British workforce earn less than this, but they are vital to keeping the whole economy functioning.

Our aim for this year is to raise awareness about settled status across the whole country, train and build capacity for Eastern European communities to face the very difficult task of leaving no one behind, and getting as many people possible through the application.

Ultimately, we want to build resilience and independence for our Eastern European communities, to be able to manage a post brexit system in the UK.

We are looking forward with confidence gained after the hard work we’ve done in the last years.

We need all of us to come together to manage this difficult task. If you wish to get involved, email us at voice@eerc.org.uk, or if you wish to donate to help us support people in need, you can do so here.

Maternity calendar from Working Families

The maternity calendar designed by Working Families with our input,  gives at-a-glance information about your rights, and is a useful reminder of what you need to do to at different stages of your pregnancy.

You can use our maternity calendar after your baby is born to check your entitlements, see what you might be able to claim and plan your return to work.

Kalendarz macierzyński, zaprojektowany przez Working Families, jest źródłem infomacji na temat Twoich praw w czasie ciąży oraz po urodzeniu dziecka

Download in Polish from here: 8344_LIN_Working Families Pro Bono Poster_FINAL WEB 150ppi[2] (1).

We are part of the second phase of the Settled Status Pilot scheme

We are really happy to announce that we are part of the next phase of the roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain their UK immigration status post Brexit.

We will run the application from 15th November to 21 December 2018 and will test the full online application process.

EDIT: We are not taking in new  applications at the moment. The scheme will be made public on the 21st January and everyone who has a chip passport will be able to apply. 

For the past year East European Resource Centre has been consulting the Home Office as part of community consultations regarding settled status with a focus on how to make the settled status applications more available to vulnerable people with additional support needs.

Since the announcement of the Settled Status scheme we have been expressing concern about those citizens who might be at risk of slipping through the cracks due to low life skills, lack of English, age, mental health, or circumstances such as social isolation, poverty, domestic violence and so on.

Our involvement with the second phase of the roll out of the settled scheme  is meant to encourage disadvantaged Eastern European migrants to apply and to identify what kind of issues arise within the system, when applying. This will feed into the way the user guidance will be drafted and to establish what kind of support vulnerable people will need.

Brexit will forever change the immigration system for EU citizens in the UK, but more importantly people’s lives are gonna change, as many EE migrants will have to make important life decisions about staying in the country or choosing to move somewhere else.  Our aim is to support those who chose to apply for the settled scheme and reach out to all the members of our communities to make them aware they need to apply for it. We want to get the most disadvantaged EE migrants successfully through Brexit and continue their lives and their integration process in the UK society.

For the past year we have been representing the interests of our communities in front of the Home Office and we believe is a really important victory to participate in the second phase of the roll out and make the voices of Eastern European migrants heard.

If you want to learn more details or want to get in touch to refer people who might want to be part of the scheme, please email voice@eerc.org.uk

 

 

 

We have started a new project: supporting Eastern European Victims of Modern Slavery

Supporting victims of modern slavery 

Modern slavery is an umbrella term that encompasses the offences of human trafficking and slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour. Modern slavery is usually a hidden crime, of indeterminate duration. The signs are not always visible and, even when they are, people are unable or afraid to report it.

The latest available estimate of the prevalence of modern slavery in the UK was produced by the Home Office in 2014 and it suggested that in 2013 there were 10,000 to 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK.

In the report, the Home Office establishes that there has been a consistent and sustained increase in the number of potential victims of modern slavery identified in the UK since 2009 – likely due to the increased priority of tackling modern slavery and improved awareness of this crime. In 2017, 5,145 potential victims were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) – the UK’s framework for referring and supporting victims. This was a 35% increase compared to the previous year (National Crime Agency, 2018).

 

According to a report by  GLAA in 2016, the scale of modern slavery is increasing across the UK, though it remains difficult to accurately assess due to the hidden nature of the threat.

In 2016, 3.805 potential victims of all exploitation types were referred into the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) in the UK and 782 potential adult victims were referred to the duty to notify provision in England and Wales. In the twelve months up until March 2017, police in England and Wales recorded 2,255 modern slavery offences, with 60 recorded by Police Scotland and 35 by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. In 2017, 5,145 potential victims of modern slavery were submitted to the NRM, a 35% increase compared with 2016.

The report notes that these figures are far lower than the 13,000 estimate from the Home Office (which in itself has been described as being “far too modest” by the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner), indicating that a significant proportion of potential victims remain vulnerable.

Eastern Europeans and modern slavery

According to the same report by GLAA,  the top ten countries of origin of NRM potential victims between 2015 and 2017 were Vietnam, Albania, the UK, Romania, Poland, Sudan, China, India, Eritrea and Slovakia.

Exploitation in the workplace is very common in Eastern European communities and is the result of people find it very difficult to access to the open British labour market due to lack of language skills, or unfamiliarity with recruitment practices and processes. Moreover, in many cases this exploitation takes place within business run by members of their communities, therefore making it even more difficult to break the cycle.

Furthermore, the situation of vulnerable workers is very dynamic and can escalate if a worker is not able to enforce his or her rights or does not know how to do it. Consequently, what starts as labour exploitation may quickly develop into modern slavery.

As a result many Eastern Europeans fall victims to traffickers whilst still in their home countries. People are promised jobs and often even pay their trafficker to get to the UK.

There are a few industries identified by the GLAA as being more at risk of modern slavery: agriculture, nail bars, catering/hotels, car washes, warehouses/distribution, food processing, shellfish gathering, manufacturing, recycling/waste disposal, cleaning and construction.

Some Eastern European workers in the farming sector are being exploited every day in the UK. Victims of this crime are often eastern European men and women who were promised a job by traffickers, or they could be on the fringes of society, homeless or destitute. Through threats, violence, coercion or forced drug and alcohol dependency, they’re enslaved, working for little or no money, living in squalid conditions having had their identity documents taken from them. Often, after arrival, gang leaders seize documents, opening multiple bank and utility accounts in their names – but refuse to hand over access to the accounts or bank cards. Hours are long and the work is gruelling and dangerous. Workers are abused and are controlled by threats of harm to their families at home.

Labour-intensive sectors such as construction, where temporary and irregular work are common, are high-risk sectors for forced labour. With new homes, offices and buildings being constructed or upgraded in great quantity, labour exploitation is the second most common type of modern slavery, after sexual exploitation. The scale of the operations is sometimes very big, especially in remote parts of the country. 

Things like the uncertainty regarding people’s rights to live and work in the UK and the new work visas for seasonal workers that the government is proposing to introduce after the UK leaves the EU, are going to put even more vulnerable Eastern Europeans at risk of modern slavery.  Temporary migrant workers are at risk of modern slavery because their visas are tied to a specific employer. This means anyone attempting to escape an exploitative situation could face deportation. To prevent this, the government will need to be much more involved in preventing and fighting modern slavery, after Brexit.

GLAA is also concenrned about Brexit.The report notes: “Dependent upon entry and working restrictions, there may be an increase in illegal working, misrepresentation and / or false and fraudulent documents being used, for example. Companies in the construction sector have reported difficulties in recruiting staff, likely due to a decrease in the migrant workforce after the UK’s independence referendum”

We are proud to announce that we started a new project supporting Victims of Modern Slavery.

Two modern slavery victims advocates will deliver an innovative modern slavery victim support project funded by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. This project is a novel take on supporting victims of modern slavery / human trafficking that places the victim at the heart of activities.

We will work in partnership with the Aire Centre and Focus on Labour Exploitation

We will work with Eastern European Victims of modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation at work, offering specialised and personalised support with:

+ report the crime to the police

+ liaise with the National Referral Mechanism

+ apply for benefits

+ finding a proper job

+ contact friends and families

+ support with their rights in the UK

+ free English classes

For referrals (Notification of Potential Victim of Modern Slavery – referral form)  or for more information, please contact slavery@eerc.org.uk .