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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 March 2006, 07:05 GMT
Call for more help for migrants
Migrant workers
More migrant workers are coming to Northern Ireland
The government is being urged to set up a special task force to deal with the issues faced by migrant workers in Northern Ireland and their employers.

The call has been made by Concordia, a social partners group which brings together the community, voluntary and business sector.

Concordia has launched a policy document which contains a series of recommendations for government action.

It says the number of migrant workers coming to NI has risen in recent years.

"Migrant workers make a really valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland economy," said Nigel Smyth, a Concordia board member and the director of CBI Northern Ireland.

"While many have a very positive experience, some do face discrimination, inadequate living conditions, and difficulties in accessing basic services.

"At present, public services in Northern Ireland are not fully geared up to meet the needs of our growing migrant workforce."


Among the steps it urges the government to take are to give specific responsibility for migrant workers to one government minister, set up an emergency rehousing fund and to establish advice and support centres for them.

In the past few years, there has been a significant increase in migrants to Northern Ireland, particularly from the the eight eastern European countries which recently jointed the EU.

The Law Centre (NI), which is hosting the launch, says it is dealing with a growing number of migrants who find themselves in real difficulty.

Maura Hutchinson, a solicitor with the Law Centre, said: "The government needs to act now on these recommendations and establish an adequate infrastructure for the migrant working community in Northern Ireland."

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10 Mar 05 |  Northern Ireland

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