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Britain, the EU and Migration

On Thursday it was reported that due to a change in European Law citizens of former Soviet-bloc nations could claim some benefits and work in the UK without registering under the Workers Registration Scheme.

As is currently stands, workers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have to register with the State in order work in the UK for more than a month. The change in law means that they no longer have to register and can claim Job Seekers Allowance, Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit. However, the rules will remain in place for workers from new EU member states (less than 2 year membership) and from outside the EU.

How is this fair?
It’s not and nor is the Workers Registration Scheme. A lot of the rulings and new laws that come out from the EU, ECJ and ECHR are based on the principles of fairness. Fairness based on the principle of human equality ie of equal worth.

Under the new law the narrative in this country towards the migrant population will go from “they come over here and take our jobs” to “they come over here and take our benefits”. With a greater strain on public resources due to austerity measures antagonism between the migrant population and domestic population will get worse, from which the far right will capitalise.

What must be remembered is that it is not the fault of the migrant population or the EU for this law, but the failing of fairness in this country. If everyone was treated the same then there would not need to be antagonism or new laws in the first place. For example if everyone signed the Register, domestic and foreign, then there might be some empathy or, at the very least, sympathy from the domestic to the migrant. Or, conversely, everyone has to work for a set number of years before being able to access the full range of benefits available to them.

The solution is not about creating more barriers between “us” and “them” but destroying barriers between “us” and “them”. We are all members of humanity and citizens of the world, so let’s treat others like we would treat ourselves.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Ust Oldfield
    January 23, 2012 at 10:20

    Reblogged this on The Guerrilla Economist.

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