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Working with EEA migrants An overview for homelessness services Tasmin Maitland, Head of Innovation and Good Practice

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Presentation on theme: "Working with EEA migrants An overview for homelessness services Tasmin Maitland, Head of Innovation and Good Practice"— Presentation transcript:

1 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Working with EEA migrants An overview for homelessness services Tasmin Maitland, Head of Innovation and Good Practice @tasmin_igp

2 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK The majority of EEA migrants are job seekers or self-employed. Most are successful in securing housing and employment, but a minority require support. Due to restrictions on access to housing and benefits, migrants facing problems are at risk of extended periods of homelessness and destitution. High % EEA migrants among people sleeping rough in some parts of England. Causes of migrant homelessness include: Casual or seasonal employment ends, along with any tied accommodation Wages too low to afford rents Job offers that turn out, on arrival, to be short term or non-existent Not enough contingency savings e.g. for a deposit or transport home Unscrupulous landlords e.g. over-charging, evicting illegally, not returning deposits Escape from trafficking and forced labour Homeless Link research with central and eastern European migrants showed that most did not experience homelessness until they came to England. The issue

3 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Shaping the service offer Be realistic, make sure clients know what your service can offer.  Can staff communicate effectively with clients who speak little or no English?  Are staff trained on welfare benefits for migrants?  Are there sufficient staff resources for time-consuming tasks e.g. benefit claims?  Can staff assess likelihood of success e.g. how close someone is to the labour market, if they have sufficient evidence to claim Job Seeker’s Allowance?  Do staff know how to refer or signpost to local services where clients can access professional advice on immigration, welfare benefits etc?  Is there partnership working in place e.g. with outreach teams, advice centres, JobCentre Plus, reconnection services, drug and alcohol services, mental health services? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to these questions, your service should be signposting clients to specialist services or arranging in-reach sessions from partner agencies.

4 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Service delivery: what works? Workers who speak relevant languages Peer mentors Single service offers Reconnection with wrap-around support in country of return Good relationships with Home Office Immigration (formerly UKBA) and embassies Multi-agency work Support from the Local Authority e.g. specialist commissioning Access to funds for documents and/or reconnection Employment support Enforcement where necessary

5 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK The support offer The support offer should be tailored to the individual and their circumstances. Options are likely to include:  Reconnection  Access to employment  Access to accommodation  Access to benefits  Access to alcohol or drug treatment Any support offer should be balanced against the fact that rough sleeping and destitution increase the risk of harm or death. If supporting someone to find work or claim benefits means that they will remain destitute, serious consideration should be given to supported reconnection. People can come back to the UK, better prepared, at a later date.

6 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Accommodation Usually a room in a shared house / house of multiple occupation (HMO). Finding deposit and rent in advance on low income. Risk of exploitation by landlords – extortionate fees/rents, disregard for tenancy law. Services can offer support: Refer to the Housing Rights website: Inform about tenants’ rights: Develop bond schemes, build landlord links: Help with property searches and viewings Offer pre-tenancy training and ongoing support Make people aware of additional costs e.g. council tax, utilities Support people to open Credit Union or bank accounts to manage money and to save Hold introduction sessions if you have a number of clients looking to share accommodation Further information:

7 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Employment The support offer should be developed on a case by case basis, and take into consideration these questions: Are there jobs available locally that they can do? Is there access to training/skills support that will improve their employment prospects? How long will job seeking or training take, and will they continue to be destitute during this time? Will they earn enough to cover rent? Will they need a deposit and rent in advance and how will they access/save this? Is there suitable affordable accommodation locally e.g. HMOs? Are there barriers to employment such as English language skills or alcohol dependency? Do staff have sufficient training in and practical knowledge of welfare benefits and how to make the transition to employment e.g. NINOs, self-employment? Can they refer to another agency that does? Will the service provide/refer to support with job seeking e.g. IT access, job clubs?

8 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Welfare Benefits EEA nationals have the right to be admitted to the UK and an initial right to reside for three months. A person is entitled to remain in the UK beyond the initial three month period if s/he is exercising their EU Treaty rights e.g. as a worker, a self-employed person, a jobseeker. Must have “right to reside” and pass Habitual Residence Test. Most migrants will only be able to claim Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA). Transitional arrangements for Bulgaria and Romania end on 1 st Jan 2014, but remain in place for Croatia Conditionality set by the local Jobcentre Plus e.g. job seeking activities and frequency of meetings with an advisor. Failure to meet conditionality can lead to JSA being sanctioned. For migrants this could also lead to questions about whether they are exercising their Treaty rights and, potentially, lead to enforcement action by Home Office Immigration.

9 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Home Office Immigration Enforcement The former UK Border Agency (UKBA) has been restructured and now sits within the Home Office. One of the new directorates, Home Office Immigration Enforcement, has a stronger focus on law enforcement. 19 ICE (Immigration Compliance and Enforcement) teams across the UK have taken on the operational enforcement role from Local Immigration Teams. For updated details of local teams: Enforcement action can be taken for the administrative removal of EEA nationals who have been in the UK for longer than 3 months, are not exercising their treaty rights and do not have a right to reside. As a result of Home Office operations, some EEA nationals have been removed from the UK, including those returning voluntarily with the Home Office paying for flights and coordinating this return with other agencies as appropriate. Others have started to exercise their treaty rights by evidencing job seeking or employment.

10 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Administrative removal The ICE team follow a staged process prior to administrative removal: 1.Identification of EEA nationals who have been in the UK for more than three months and who do not have a permanent right to reside, and do not appear to be exercising a Treaty right 2.The service of a ‘Minded to Remove’ letter, which sets out the basis on which an EEA national may have a right to reside in the UK; explains that the recipient has come to the Home Office’s attention as someone who does not appear to have a right to reside and may be removed; and invites them to an interview to provide evidence of their status. This interview is usually scheduled to take place 10 days later 3.An interview with an Immigration Officer to determine whether the individual is exercising treaty rights and is thus entitled to be in the UK 4.Service of removal papers with a minimum of 28 days’ notice of the date of removal if the person is found to be an EEA national who is not exercising a treaty right and does not have a right to reside.

11 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Home Office voluntary departures Since June 2013 Home Office policy has allowed for stage 2 (the minded to remove letter and 10 day wait for an interview) to be omitted for those cases where it is immediately apparent to an immigration officer that an EEA national is not exercising treaty rights. For example an immigration officer may encounter a rough sleeper who readily admits that they are not working in the UK or seeking work. After giving them access to legal advice and asking them to sign a specific disclaimer, EEA nationals can make an immediate (even same day) voluntary departure from the UK. For further details on administrative removal see: For up to date information from the Home Office about EEA/EU nationals:

12 WWW.HOMELESS.ORG.UK Guidance Homeless Link’s Effective Action series of guidance is commissioned by DCLG and developed with the support of our members. All guidance is free to download. Other useful links: 020 7840 4451

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