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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
One-stop pack to aid NI migrants
Migrant workers
More migrant workers are coming to Northern Ireland
Migrant workers in Northern Ireland will soon have access to a one-stop information pack to make it easier to settle into their new environments.

The Multi-Cultural Resource Centre has received 247,240 of lottery cash to help launch an orientation pack.

It outlines the rights and entitlements of workers on issues such as housing, employment, social security benefits, health services and education.

There is also information on transport, car insurance, and bank accounts.

The initiative has been part-funded by the National Lottery's Big Lottery fund.

Margaret Donaghy, of the Belfast-based Multi-Cultural Resource Centre said migrant workers provided an invaluable contribution to society in Northern Ireland by filling skilled labour shortages in the local economy.

"Despite this there have been incidents of exploitation and intimidation," she said.

"This orientation pack will help to alleviate some of the possible problems encountered by migrant workers by ensuring people have access to accurate and relevant information.

"Migrant workers coming to Northern Ireland for the first time can find the experience quite a challenge - a new language, new environment, new systems and different services to understand and finding out information can be a daunting task.

"The pack is an invaluable resource for both migrant workers and service providers."

Task force call

The pack is aimed at migrant workers from EU Accession countries including Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Poland.

The Accession countries do not have the same rights to social security as other EU nationals.

Last month, the government was 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 was made by Concordia, a social partners group which brings together the community, voluntary and business sector.

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

It urged the government 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 joined the EU.

The Multi-Cultural Resource Centre (NI) works across Northern Ireland advocating and promoting human rights and equity through empowering black and minority ethnic communities and individuals.




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