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Fears over ‘enforcers’ checking migrant workers’ status

Bernadette McAliskey who chaired the Brexit conference in Dungannon with keynote speakers.

 

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A MAJOR conference focusing on the impact of Brexit on migrant workers, has heard concerns that human rights are being ignored in the potential scenarios of a final settlement.
 
Held in Dungannon, which boasts one of the largest migrant communities in the North, the event was chaired by veteran civil rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey and addressed by top academics and senior workers union figures.
 
The conference at The Junction venue, also attracted over 80 community and voluntary sector participants, indicating the level of concern over the outcome of Brexit for the thousands of people from the EU and other countries who have made Dungannon and the North their home.
 
“Participants actively engaged in identifying key shared concerns, including the increasing role of public service providers as ‘enforcers'” said a spokesperson for the South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP) who hosted the event.
 
“That they (public service providers) would be required to investigate and report service users’ immigration status; increased racial profiling in ad-hoc immigration checks, and the limitations for new ‘frontier workers’ post- Brexit, meaning those living in Northern Ireland but working in the Republic and vice-versa given the unique situation that NI was the only part of the UK with an EU land border.”
 
They added, “It was suggested that 50 years on from the birth of the Civil Rights Movement for equality of Civil and Political Rights in Northern Ireland, there was a need to re-energise and mobilise support for protection and equality of Human Rights, including socio-economic rights for every person living here.
 
“Delegates heard from the panel that it was an individual responsibility to become a collective movement of challenge and change and those attending the conference agreed to look within their groups and organisations at ways in which they could contribute to the campaign.”

The conference was a partnership event with BREXIT Law NI, UNISON, the Equality Coalition, Queen’s University Belfast, CAJ and Stronger Together.
 
Keynote speakers included Patricia McKeown, UNISON, Fidelma O’Hagan and Daniel Holder, CAJ and Professor Colin Harvey, QUB.

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