About  |  contact  |  Search  |  RSS
Last Update: 18 Hour and 32 Minute ago
News code: 29460
Published Date: Monday 22 June 2020 - 09:25:09
Print 

Migrant workers at risk of destitution in UK

Migrant workers at risk of destitution in UK
World  - Immigration rules that have left 1 million migrant workers in the UK at risk of destitution because they cannot claim universal credit should be suspended on public health grounds during the pandemic, a cross-party group of MPs has recommended.

The work and pensions select committee said the no recourse to public funds (NRPF) rule - which hit the headlines recently when Boris Johnson appeared not to be aware of its existence - meant many foreign nationals faced a choice of staying at home in hardship or going to work and risking catching or spreading the virus.

"During a pandemic it cannot be in the public interest to expect people, some of whom are key workers and frontline medical staff, to comply fully with restrictive public health guidance while simultaneously denying them full access to the welfare safety net," the report said.

The NRPF rule, which was introduced in 2012 and prevents migrant workers with leave to remain in the UK from claiming many social security benefits, was ruled unlawful by the high court in May following a case brought by a eight-year-old boy whose family had been left in extreme poverty by the rule.

Ministers have been under pressure to set out how the government will support people with NRPF since the prime minister unexpectedly told a meeting of the Commons liaison committee in May that he thought the NRPF scheme should be reviewed. "We will see what we can do to help, Johnson said.

The recommendation came as part of the committee's inquiry report into the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) response to coronavirus. It concluded that while the DWP should be commended for its rapid response to the pandemic, gaps in the safety net had left "huge numbers" of people struggling with daily living costs during the crisis.

"DWP's frontline staff have worked hard to get support to millions of people. Without their actions, the impact of the pandemic could have been much worse. But the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted weaknesses in a social security system which at times is too inflexible and slow to adapt to support people in times of crisis," Stephen Timms, the chair of the work and pensions committee, said.

The committee praised the "extraordinary" work of frontline benefits officials - and suggested they should be considered for a pay rise - after ensuring an unprecedented surge of nearly 3 million new claimants since March had received universal credit payments on time. While staff had been thanked by ministers they also deserved "more concrete recognition".

However, exclusionary and opaque benefit rules had left many people without financial support, the report concluded. As well as migrants with leave to remain, many self-employed workers were unable to access benefits, and tens of thousands of claimants had lost out on the £20 a week increase in touniversal credit because the top-up took them over the benefit cap limit.

The £20 a week rise, paid from April to help universal credit claimants with the extra costs of Covid-19, was as a matter of policy not offered to hundreds of thousands of claimants on legacy benefits such as jobseeker's allowance and employment and support allowance, the report noted. Ministers told the committee "operational difficulties" had prevented them from uprating older benefits.

MPs said it was unacceptable that people were left facing hardship through no fault of their own "simply because of the outdated and complex way in which so-called legacy benefits are administered". It called for legacy benefit rates to be increased in line with universal credit, backdated to April.

Self-employed tax credit claimants who were wrongly advised by government guidance to apply for universal credit during the pandemic, inadvertently leaving them worse off, should have their original benefits restored, the report said. Ministers had promised to review the problem, but nothing had yet been done and the "time for action is long overdue".

 

News Code: 29460
Published Date: Monday 22 June 2020 - 09:25:09
No Comment,Be the first one who comments.
Comments

Name

email  

website

Comment  

Security code [*]: Please enter correct answer in security box.:

 = 5+4

Opinion
If Black Americans were to seek asylum, they would easily qualify
If Black Americans were to seek asylum, they would easily qualify
Amali Tower, the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Refugees
Sanctions in the era of pandemic
Sanctions in the era of pandemic
Phyllis Bennis, a fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC
India's Muslims are punished for asking to be Indian
India's Muslims are punished for asking to be Indian
Vidya Subrahmaniam, award-winning Indian journalist and political commentator.
Bahrain is holding my family hostage – and the UK is abetting them
Bahrain is holding my family hostage – and the UK is abetting them
Sayed Ahmed AlWadaei, the advocacy director of BIRD
How Israel controls Palestinian bodies, both living and dead
How Israel controls Palestinian bodies, both living and dead
Mariam Barghouti, Palestinian writer and commentator
Why has it been such a deadly year for French women?
Why has it been such a deadly year for French women?
Megan Clement, a freelance journalist based in Paris.