Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:21 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Meri Åhlberg:

There is a real risk, for instance, that the 12-month programme will mean a constant churn of vulnerable workers who are not aware of their rights and do not have the chance to build up social networks that could support them. Workers will not have recourse to public funds. Those coming here to work in precarious jobs—for instance, in the hospitality sector, in which they might be on a zero-hours contract and have 40 hours of work one week and two hours the next—will, if they have no recourse to public funds, be very vulnerable.

A lot of other specific migration policy issues make workers vulnerable. For instance, under the seasonal workers pilot, which is also in the immigration White Paper and is being brought in through secondary legislation, workers have no guaranteed hours or guaranteed earnings. If they come here to work in the agricultural sector and are on a zero-hours contract, they will not necessarily be earning enough to cover their flights or visa costs if there is a bad harvest, for instance. Those are the kinds of things that we need to think about.