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International Migrants Day 18 December 2009 | Immigration Matters

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On 4 December 2000, the UN General Assembly, taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world, proclaimed 18 December International Migrants Day (resolution 55/93). On that day, in 1990, the Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (resolution 45/158).

Member States, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are invited to observe International Migrants Day through the dissemination of information on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through the sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure their protection.

The JCWI (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) has published its Winter 2009 bulletin which examines the government’s Points-Based System for immigration. 

The bulletin features an article by Keith Vaz MP who in his capacity as chairman of the Home Affairs Committee has done much to expose the weaknesses and suggests improvements to PBS, said JCWI Chief Executive Habib Rahman. 

In a JCWI press release Mr Rahman continued: 

“On this day we feel it must be emphasised that migrant workers have for generations immeasurably enriched Britain both culturally and economically.  Many of our artists, musicians, sports people and academics are of foreign origin.  One of main foundations for the success of London’s Olympic bid was that London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. 

“Migrant workers have for decades filled skills gaps and there is no substantiated evidence that foreign workers harm job prospects of British workers. For example, 30% of the NHS doctors qualified outside the UK and this trend continues.  Similarly a disproportionate amount of nurses and midwives were trained outside the UK.  A large number of care and ancillary workers are also migrants. 

“Migrants bring new ideas and establish new businesses. In the catering industry we have seen the growth of Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese, Continental European and other restaurants, creating jobs and prosperity. Overseas students bring huge income to the higher education sector and they also work part-time as an educated workforce. 

“At the same time, Migrant workers are not allowed to cause recourse to the public funds and under the new laws they are required to be in continuous employment. Criteria in the new Points-Based System are designed in such a way that they discriminate against non-EU nationals, particularly from the impoverished parts of the world.  Tier 3 (low skilled migrant workers) is for the time being closed on the pretext that low-skilled vacancies will be filled by workers from the EU countries. 

Today, we renew our call for the UK government to sign the convention on the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families. Migrant workers must have a clear pathway to stakeholdership in the society and must be given an easy access to social entitlements so that they are motivated to contribute to the society to the best of their abilities.”

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