Wednesday, Apr 23rd

Last update12:26:35 PM GMT

Immigration news

Move towards creating EU single permit

Non-EU workers will enjoy rights comparable to those of EU citizens

Non EU-workers are set to enjoy the same rights regarding working conditions as EU nationals, under the proposed 'single permit' law directive adopted by the European Parliament (EP) on 24th March.

This draft law seeks to simplify procedures for both migrants and their employers via a combined permit for residence and work.

The "single permit" Directive, as amended by Parliament at first reading on 24th March, would cut red tape and simplify procedures for immigrants applying to live and work in an EU Member State.

National authorities of each country will still have the power to decide whether to admit non-EU workers and how many to admit. But now they will issue residence permits that include information on permission to work. To avoid confusion, they must issue no additional documents.

Who will be covered?

The new rules will apply to non-EU nationals seeking to reside and work in a Member State or who already reside legally in an EU country.

The rules will not apply to: long-term residents and refugees, who are already covered by other EU rules; seasonal workers and employees of multinational firms coming to work in their company's EU offices, who will be covered by other new EU directives.

In addition, the Directive will not apply to migrant workers covered by the 'posted workers' directive. But for example, a Chinese citizen working for a Chinese company hired to build a road in Germany, and who is not covered by the 'posted workers' Directive, would be granted the rights conferred by the 'single permit' rules. Foreign workers' rights would thus be protected in all circumstances.

The MEPs agreed that this Directive should not apply to foreign workers while posted. This should not prevent immigrants who are legally resident and lawfully employed in an EU country and posted to another Member State from "continuing to enjoy equal treatment with respect to nationals of the Member State of origin for the duration of their posting," says an EP amendment by way of clarification.

Equal treatment with fewer restrictions

Non-EU workers will enjoy a set of rights comparable to those of EU citizens, such as pay, health and safety at work, working time, leave and access to social security.

Member States may decide to limit access to social security, except for individuals who are currently in employment or have worked for at least six months and are already registered as unemployed.

Member States may also decide to grant family benefits only to those who have been authorised to work for more than six months.

Non-EU workers would be able to claim tax benefits. However, their families could only receive these if they lived in the Member State of employment.

Non-EU workers would be able to receive their pensions when moving back to their home country under the same conditions and at the same rates as EU nationals.

Member States may decide that only workers who are in employment should have access to public services and goods, such as public housing. 

The right to vocational training and education may be limited to non-EU workers who are in employment or who have been employed. Individuals living in the EU to study could thus be excluded, while workers who would like to get a qualification not directly linked to their jobs may be required to demonstrate language proficiency.

The amendments adopted by MEPs will now be considered by the EU Justice and Home Affairs ministers. Under the Lisbon Treaty, Parliament and Council legislate on an equal footing on matters to do with legal immigration.

The UK and Ireland have opted out of this directive. Denmark is also not taking part.

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Bossi: Send home immigrants at Lampedusa

The most effective way of solving the problem of immigrants in Lampedusa island is to send them all back to their home countries, Mr. Umberto Bossi, the leader of Northern League party has said.

He said none of Italian Regions is happy to host immigrants who keep on arriving at Lampedusa.

Asked what he thought about the plan of distributing the immigrants to different parts of the country, Mr. Bossi said “it’s better to keep them closer to their home.”

He added: “The first thing to do is to depart from the island and take them home.”

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Italy asked to approve asylum law

Italy needs to approve asylum law in order to avoid confusing refugees with irregular immigrants, Mr. Piero Fassino of the Democratic Party has said.

Mr. Fassino, who a Mayoral Candidate for Turin said the crisis in Libya which has made it possible for a large number of immigrants to come to Italy, has found the country unprepared to handle the problem.

He warned against confusing asylum seekers with irregular immigrants, and called for a tougher stance against irregular immigrants.

Mr. Fassino criticized the government’s delay in transporting away from Lampedusa immigrants who keep arriving at the island.

He said they should be distributed to all Regions and appealed to all Regional authorities and the EU to work together in handling the emergency.

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Naval vessels to ferry all immigrants from Lampedusa

On Wednesday six naval vessels will arrive at Lampedusa to transport away all immigrants in the island, Mr. Giuseppe Caruso, Special Commissioner handling the humanitarian emergency at Lampedusa has said.

The six naval vessels can transport up to 10,000 immigrants.

Mr. Caruso confirmed that they’ll ferry away all immigrants from the island and transport them to different parts of the country where they’ll be accommodated in tents and in former military barracks.

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HIV positive migrants denied medication in British detention centres

60% of detainees faced interruption in their treatment due to detention

Deadly facts on treatment of HIV-positive immigrant patients have surfaced. The doctors say hundreds of HIV-positive immigrants are routinely denied essential medication in British detention centres. As a result, their lives are being put at risk.

The doctors have also called for improved healthcare facilities in immigration detention centres. Or, in alternative, they are seeking the release of those suffering from the condition.

Carried in a report by the charity Medical Justice, the evidence will be placed before the Court of Appeal in April. It will come up for consideration, as three HIV-positive migrants seek to have their detention ruled unlawful because of the centres’ failure to treat them properly.

The first to examine the treatment of HIV-positive immigration detainees in Britain, the report examines the case of 35 detainees with the condition, including women and children.

Approximately 60 per cent of the detainees studied faced interruption in their treatment due to detention. As a result, many developed resistance to mainstream antiretroviral drugs. In the process, their lives were put to risk. In some cases, the resistance made it impossible for them later to find effective medication.

The study also found more than three-quarters were deported with little or no medication, even though the doctors say this presents a serious public health risk.

This was also against the government guidelines stating that they should be given a three-month supply before removal.

Some detainees were forced to undergo medical examinations while they were handcuffed to guards, even though they were not guilty of any crime. Some others were even denied access to hospital appointments with HIV specialists.

Quoting an example, the report says a pregnant detainee had less than a month’s medication, when an attempt was made to deport her, even as it is vital that treatment is continuous during pregnancy to avoid infecting the unborn child.

According to UNICEF, approximately 60 per cent of all new HIV cases in the UK were sub-Saharan African immigrants. As many as 6,630 new cases of HIV infections were in Britain in 2009. It was more than double the number recorded 10 years before. Most of those studied fled their native land for refuge in the UK. Nothing less than 80 per cent discovered their HIV infection after arriving in Britain.

Dr. Indrajit Ghosh, a GP and HIV specialist, said: “The UK Border Agency claims that healthcare in its centres is equivalent to that in the NHS, but the report shows that being in detention leads to a situation in which these patients cannot access proper medical care. In the case of HIV, this is a threat to the patients’ lives. HIV-positive people should therefore be released and properly cared for.”

Diane Abbott, the shadow public health minister, claimed that poor treatment resulted in a “serious public health hazard”. “I’ve long been concerned at the medical facility for detainees. I think it’s shameful they’re given such poor treatment, but the situation with HIV is particularly worrying as it presents a very serious public health hazard,” she said.

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