Access to Immigration Advice and Representation

Back to all Motions

2017 National Black Members' Conference
23 September 2016
Carried as Amended

For Black members who are not fully settled in the UK or do not have British Citizenship, immigration is a major issue.

Immigration rules come and go and change overnight (as our European migrant worker colleagues are finding out!). A change in a shortage occupation list; a new salary threshold; a new English test requirement and your right to work and live here can be jeopardised.

In the workplace you can find yourself suspended because your employer starts to doubt your entitlement to work and does not recognise the evidence you are providing. There is no doubt that in the post EU referendum scenario, Black European migrants will be the first ones to be asked to justify their entitlement and to be targeted.

Black members who are here on the basis of their European partner’s status will also have reasons to start worrying. New nurses from the Philippines have also been recruited recently in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in the UK.

All this means that the most important membership service that can be provided for our Black migrant workers is access to immigration advice.

Currently the only provision is done through a helpline where advice is given on the phone and on a Tuesday only, although this is a vital and important service provided by UNISON, details need to be more widely spread. In Northern Ireland we have also organised our own face-to-face immigration clinic. Again, this is a once a month fixed service with little flexibility and with no representation.

Black migrant workers need immigration advice more than they need discount in certain shops; special rates on car insurance or glasses; or access to a free will from our solicitors.

Conference calls on the National Black Members’ Committee (NBMC) to:

1)use their influence with all UNISON structures to give access to a more comprehensive immigration advice and representation service to its members.

2)Publish the helpline in Black Action and other UNISON media.

Submitted by: UNISON Northern Ireland

NBMC Policy: Support