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Your Rights in Northern Ireland Guides


The Law Centre has produced updates to their guides for migrant workers, including:

A printed version of the Polish guide

A poster advertising the online versions of the guide

Online versions of English, Polish, Romanian, Slovak and Lithuanian guides (on http://www.lawcentreni.org/publications/migrant-workers.html )

Russian, Chinese, Bulgarian and Brazilian Portuguese will be ready in the next couple of weeks.

The Law Centre is keen to distribute the Polish guides fairly quickly to those who need them. For more information contact:

catherine.couvert@lawcentreni.org

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HMRC is now providing free workshops for migrant entrepreneurs


Organisations providing support to migrant entrepreneurs starting in business or becoming self-employed in the UK can now book a presentation laying out basic tax guidance by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The presentation covers:

  • how to register as self-employed
  • what records to keep
  • how and when to pay tax

It will help you guide your clients to ensure they get things right first time and pay the correct amount of tax at the correct time. Presentations, delivered by HMRC Business Advisers can be held at a venue of your choice and last for between one and two hours.

For more details please contact your HMRC Local Intermediary Manager

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How to get medical help in London: Mayor launches leaflet to support migrants’ registration with GPs


Many migrants fail to register with a GP either because they are unaware of their eligibility or because they are wrongly turned away. The Mayor of London, with partner organisations has published a leaflet on how to access primary healthcare in London that should support migrants and other excluded groups in registering.

The leaflet can be downloaded in nineteen languages here.

For the last six months the Migrants’ Rights Network has been working with a group of partner organisations, including colleagues from Praxis and Project London, convened by the Greater London Authority to produce an information resource to raise awareness about primary care amongst migrants and asylum seekers and support them in registering with a GP.

The resulting leaflet has now been published and is being distributed at libraries, hospitals and migrant community organisations throughout London. The leaflet is called ‘How can I get medical help in London?’ and is written in easy to understand prose, touching upon:

  • What is a GP
  • How to register with a GP
  • What to do if refused
  • Alternatives for non-registered individuals
  • What to do in case of an emergency

The leaflet is part of the Mayor’s Integration Strategy’s actions on health and seeks to address the gap in registration for primary care amongst sections of the migrant population. Failure to register with a GP has serious consequences: for migrants, for the NHS and for health inequalities. Many migrants fail to register because they do not know how the NHS works; because they may be in good health and not see the need to do so; or because they have been refused or fear they will be.

For numerous health problems early detection and treatment is vital and therefore failure to see a GP may have harmful consequences for individual migrants. But it also has consequences for the NHS because non-registered patients often end up in A&E wards or with serious health issues which are much more expensive to treat. Another consequence of migrants failing to register for primary care is that areas with large numbers of unregistered patients may end up with poorer health indicators, widening the already significant health inequalities between different areas.

The leaflet aims to make migrants aware of the importance of registering with a GP and to provide information on the way to do this. In this sense it is a straightforward awareness-raising and information resource. However, beyond this, it aims to bring some clarity amongst migrants, migrant-support organisations and health practitioners on access to healthcare. This is an area where there is a lot of confusion both on the part of service-providers and within migrant communities.

Much of the confusion hinges on whether visitors, overstayers and failed asylum seekers can register as an NHS patient with a GP. While GPs have some discretion in accepting new patients, people seeking to register do not legally have to prove their identity or immigration status to register with a practice. If somebody is refused they may ask the GP practice to give their reasons in writing and GPs must ensure that they are not treating people differently due to their nationality or ethnic background.

This means that, for the time being, long-term migrants should be able to register for primary care irrespective of their immigration status. A more lengthy discussion of the rules of access to health and a justification of why universal coverage makes sense can be found here in a previous MRN blog and briefing: http://www.migrantsrights.org.uk/migration-pulse/2011/access-primary-health-care-migrants-right-worth-defending

There is evidence, however, that many migrants still find it difficult to register either because they are wrongly turned away from GP practices or because are under the impression that they are not eligible for it.

This leaflet is a resource that should help in some measure to redress this gap. The leaflet is available online in nineteen languages. We encourage groups working with migrants to make use of it as a resource to encourage wider registration amongst their users.

You can find the leaflet in all languages here:  http://www.london.gov.uk/publication/access-to-health

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Immigrants ‘have to earn £35,000’ to settle in the UK – from 2016


Migrant workers will need to earn at least £35,000 to qualify for settlement in the UK, says the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May said the change – from April 2016 – would help cut the number of non-Europeans and their dependants granted settlement each year from 60,000 to 20,000.

The pay threshold will apply to people wanting to remain permanently after more than five years working in the UK.

Those who don’t qualify will be ordered to leave the UK after six years.

The pay threshold is the first time that a British government has imposed an economic test on the right to settlement in the UK. For decades, settlement has been granted on the basis length of time and ties to the UK, recognising that people who have been living in the country for five years have made it their permanent home.

In a written statement to Parliament, Mrs May said: “Until now, settlement has been a virtually automatic consequence of five years’ residence in the UK as a skilled worker. Those who have settled have tended to be less well paid and lower-skilled than those who have not.

“And the volumes of migrant workers settling have reached record levels in recent years.”

According to official figures, in 1997 fewer than 10,000 migrant workers and their dependants were granted settlement, but by 2010 this had risen to 84,000.

The £35,000 earnings threshold will be waived for any “shortage occupations” if official advisers tell ministers that the UK needs more workers with skills or training.

Scientists and researchers in PhD level jobs will also be exempt from the earnings test.

The government says it will also restrict the arrival of foreign domestic workers to those who are travelling with their employers, such as diplomats or business people temporarily working in the UK.

Mrs May said: “We recognise that the ODW (overseas domestic worker) routes can at times result in the import of abusive employer/employee relationships to the UK.

“It is important that those who use these routes to bring their staff here understand what is and is not acceptable. So we will be strengthening pre-entry measures to ensure that domestic workers and their employers understand their respective rights and responsibilities.”

Under the new rules, overseas domestic workers who come to the UK with their employer must leave after six months. Those working in diplomats’ households can stay for up to five years. The workers will not be able to extend their stay, switch employer, sponsor dependants or seek settlement.

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EPIM call for proposals 2012 released


The European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) is seeking to support projects by non-governmental organisations and registered charities active on migration and integration issues.

EPIM will provide a limited number of grants for a period of one to three years with budgets ranging from €50,000 to €300,000. In addition, it will promote grantees’ networking and capacity-building efforts.

Successful projects should set out to influence EU policies and their national implementation in one of three defined focus areas:

* Asylum seekers
* Undocumented migrants
* Equality, integration and social inclusion of vulnerable migrants

Please refer to the ‘EPIM 2012 Call for Proposals Information Sheet’, which provides full information concerning eligibility as well as the grant application and selection process.

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Free English Classes running at the Belfast Migrant Centre


NEW CLASSES STARTING FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER! CLASSES WILL START ON TUESDAY 31 JANUARY 2012. PLEASE REGISTER YOUR INTEREST BY EMAIL OR PHONE.

JANUARY – APRIL 2012

Tuesday – Beginners – 4:30 – 6:30pm

Wednesday – Intermediate – 4:30 – 6:30pm

at Belfast Migrant Centre

Beginners and Intermediate English classes for free! Everyone is welcome to register for the classes. The classes will begin in January and go for 10 weeks until April. It is a good opportunity to get started on learning English or to move to another level.

It is important if you register that you are able to attend the classes on a regular basis, these classes are often oversubscribed and if you are not able to commit to the full term of January – April your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.

The first class for Beginners will be on Tuesday 31 January 2012 and the first class for Intermediate will be on 1 February 2012.

For more information or to register your interest please email – anna@nicem.org.uk and be sure to include your full name and the best way to get in contact.

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Net migration to UK in 2010 at record high


Annual net migration to the UK in 2010 was 252,000 – the highest calendar year figure on record, figures show.

The data from the Office for National Statistics showed immigration remained steady at 591,000 but there was a drop in the number of people leaving the UK.

Provisional data from the ONS for the 12 months to the end of March suggest net migration has since fallen slightly to 245,000.

The government has pledged to cut net migration to tens of thousands by 2015.

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UK Restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers extended


Restrictions on how many Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can work in the UK have been extended until the end of 2013, the Home Office has confirmed.

The restrictions were first put in place in 2007 when the two countries became members of the European Union.

It means Bulgarian and Romanian nationals remain restricted to jobs that are either skilled or in sectors where there is a shortage of UK labour.

Under European Law, the restrictions cannot continue beyond the end of 2013.

After then, they will be lifted.

Immigration minister Damian Green said he had decided to extend the restrictions as he wanted to ensure migration from those countries delivered economic benefits to the UK and that he did not want migration to have adverse impacts on the domestic labour force.

He said: “Economic events of recent years have inevitably impacted upon labour market conditions in the UK but the labour market has demonstrated a high degree of resilience, particularly in terms of levels of employment, during and since the recession.

“However, labour market conditions, and the extent to which they are affected by migration, are very uncertain in the current economic circumstances.”

Permanent employment

A report by the Migration Advisory Committee published on 4 November had recommended the restrictions be extended, saying the UK labour market was in a state of serious disturbance and that lifting the current restrictions at this stage would risk negative impacts on the labour market.

Mr Green said that, while migration flows from those two countries had been relatively low, the number of Bulgarians and Romanians resident in the UK had increased substantially since 1 January 2007.

“Removing the current restrictions would cause migration to increase and cause those who currently come to the UK for temporary purposes to seek more permanent employment in the UK,” he added.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “This is absolutely the right decision.

“With 2.5 million people unemployed, it would be absurd to open our borders yet again to more unskilled workers.”

The annual quota for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) will continue at 21,250 places for 2012 and 2013 and the annual quota for the Sectors Based Scheme (SBS) will continue at 3,500 places for 2012 and 2013.

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Winter Freeze Advice


The Northern Ireland Housing Executive, in response to requests from customers and District Offices, published a Winter Special in January 2011. This may also be of use this winter as it contains useful information on how to look after your home in cold weather, including

Ø       How to find your stop cock

Ø       How to prevent pipes bursting and what to do if a pipe bursts

Ø       How to look after your heating system if your water supply is cut off

Ø       Advice on home contents insurance

Ø       Emergency contact numbers

It is available as a dual translation in arrange of languages. These publications are laid out with the information on the left hand side and the corresponding English translation on the right.

Ø       Download the Simplified Chinese dual translation of Housing News ( 461 KB)

Ø       Download the Lithuanian Housing News ( 303 KB)

Ø       Download the Latvian Housing News ( 287 KB)

Ø       Download the Portuguese Housing News ( 230 KB)

Ø       Download the Polish Housing News ( 276 KB)

Ø       Get more help with translations

Ø       Download the original Housing News Winter issue ( 529 KB)

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Qualifications Comparison Service for workers from outside Northern Ireland


Employment and Learning Minister, Dr.Stephen Farry, last week launched a new Qualifications Comparison Service for workers from outside Northern Ireland.

The Qualifications Comparison Service offers individuals from outside Northern Ireland the opportunity to call into one of Department for Employment and Learning’s (DEL) Employment Service offices and have their qualifications compared against the UK equivalent. This will enable both them, and importantly, employers to check whether they have the necessary qualifications to apply for or fulfill the criteria for specific jobs.

The Department for Employment and Learning’s Qualification Comparison Service is available at the following Jobs and Benefits offices; Carrickfergus, Shaftesbury Square, Lisburn, Antrim, Limavady, Dungannon and Portadown. It can also be accessed at the EURES office in Gloucester House, Chichester Street, Belfast. The full DEL press release on the new service can be found at http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/news-del-021111-new-qualifications-comparison

To find out more about the above or other HR related issues, please call Louise at Sector Matters on 028 9087 5015 or email louise.foster@sectormatters.com.

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Young people with irregular immigration status – Supported Options Fund now open


The Supported Options Fund has been established by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy as a ‘Special Initiative’ to provide support and advice to young people and children in the UK who have irregular immigration status.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy are now inviting expressions of interest from organisations who may wish to apply to this Fund, which is open to those anywhere in the UK.

The closing date for expressions of interest, which should be a maximum of 6 pages, is 5 pm on 15th November 2011.

Full details of the aims and approach, and how to apply can be downloaded from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation website.

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International Migrants Day to be celebrated on 18 December


For the sixth year in a row, the migrant radio initiative, Radio1812, will be organising a global event that brings together radio stations from around the world to produce, broadcast and share programs celebrating the achievements and highlighting the concerns of migrants worldwide.

Last year, close to 150 radio stations from 49 countries participated in what has grown into an annual opportunity to put migrants rights issues in the media and to encourage migrants voices being heard. Over the coming weeks, R1812 will release more information on the new features of this year’s edition, including info on how it will cover the upcoming Global Forum on Migration and Development and related civil society in Geneva at the end of November.

R1812 welcomes suggestions and information about your own plans for this year’s International Migrants Day and Radio1812 participation.

For all information write to radio1812@december18.net or visit www.radio1812.net where you can listen to or upload programmes on migration-related topics.

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Assessing the impact of policy changes and cuts on services for asylum seekers and refugees


Employability Forum is currently running a survey which seeks to identify the impact of policy changes and cuts and the emerging gaps in services are for refugees and asylum seekers. This is part of a national Refugee Integration Working Group, co-chaired by UKBA and Employability Forum.

The data gathered will be used to inform the Working Group and shape the recommendations that the Group will submit to Ministers.

The survey is aimed at all organisations who currently support asylum seekers and refugees. It should take about 20 minutes to complete – the majority of questions are multiple choice. To access the survey, please click here.

If you have any questions or would like a pdf of the full survey, please contact Tom Shakhli via t.shakhli@employabilityforum.co.uk or 020 7250 8332.

For more information on the Refugee Integration Working Group, please contact Beryl Randall via b.randall@employabilityforum.co.uk or 020 7250 8330.

The survey will be open until Friday 21 October 2011. Please do pass the link to other organisations in the sector. A report will be published in November 2011.

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Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People launches


A new pilot project has been launched to support strategic legal work, that is, work that goes beyond securing justice for an individual and makes a significant contribution to law, practice and procedures that upholds and promotes the rights of refugee and asylum seeking children and young people.

In the context of unprecedented cuts to legal aid and the advice sector, the primary aim of The Strategic Legal Fund for Refugee Children and Young People (SLF) is to achieve the best possible outcomes for this vulnerable group. It will do this by funding interventions in Court and pre-litigation legal research for cases involving asylum seeking and refugee children and young people.

The SLF is a 12 month pilot project which will test a new model for supporting legal work by providing flexible and responsive funding. The SLF is open to applications during its 9 month ‘live’ phase from 10 October 2011 to 9 July 2012 and will accept applications from not-for-profit organisations that provide specialist level legal advice to asylum seeking and refugee children and young people, and firms of solicitors that have a legal aid contract covering asylum, immigration, human rights, community care, housing, education, discrimination and health.

The SLF is funded by The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and is being delivered in partnership with Trust for London. The day-to-day management and administration of the fund will be carried out by MigrationWork CIC.

For more info and details on how to apply please visit www.migrationwork.org/strategic-legal-fund

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Free English Classes running at the Belfast Migrant Centre


October – December 2011

Tuesday – Beginners – 4:30 – 6:30p

Wednesday – Intermediate – 4:30 – 6:30p

Beginners and Intermediate English classes for free! Everyone is welcome to register for the classes. The classes will begin in October and run through to Christmas. It is a good opportunity to get started on learning English or to move to another level.

It is important if you register that you are able to attend the classes on a regular basis, these classes are often oversubscribed and if you are not able to commit to the full term of October -December your place may be given to someone on the waiting list.

The first class for Beginners will be on Tuesday 11 October 2011  and the first class for Intermediate will be on 12 October 2011.

For more information or to register your interest please email – jolena@nicem.org.uk and be sure to include your full name and the best way to get in contact.

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Let`s Speak Polish


On 12th August 2011 the Polish Association Northern Ireland started a new project called ”Let’s speak Polish”. “L`sP” is an introductory course for people who need basics of Polish language in their work to create friendly and open atmosphere when talking with Poles, as well as to understand the most important expressions in daily life.

There is quite wide section about Polish culture and rules of social behaviour. The course consists of about 4 units, with 1-2 lessons needed for each unit, but the first lesson has been created in a way, that enables it to be taught as a single, pilot, lesson – “first steps in the Polish world”. The course is being provided by Piotr Nowak, volunteer in PANI, undergraduate of Jagiellonian University, doing his masters in Teaching Polish as a Foreign Language.

As from 30th August they have 3 regular groups (average 8 participants per group) formed of people with different reasons to learn Polish (e.g. for work, to learn about Polish culture, to speak with Polish neighbours).  During last two weeks they have also provided single, pilot, lessons for organisations like: Housing Executive, NICEM or Greater Village Regeneration Trust. Up to end of August every lesson took place within Belfast, but from September training will expand to Bangor. The current courses will run till the second half of September, but PANI plans to continue “Let’s speak Polish” in the following months. For more information please contact: Piotr Nowak – piotr@polishassociation.org

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Pathways has Official Launch!


Launch 1

Last Friday 24th June the Pathways to Work project held it’s official launch in Dublin, at an event hosted by the Irish project partners the Immigrant Council of Ireland and officially launched by Proinsias De Rossa MEP

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Fidele Mutwarasibo, Integration Manager with the ICI, said young immigrants face significant challenges in seeking employment, compared to their local counterparts.

“The research* which we conducted to inform the components of the Pathways to Work project showed that young migrants are aware their career chances are negatively impacted because they lack certain skills, or they face attitudinal and administrative barriers,” he said.  “Of the 186 people who took part in this research, 66 per cent of them felt they failed to secure jobs because of competition from equally skilled candidates.  Bureaucracy, navigating qualification procedures and communication skills were also identified as significant barriers to securing employment amongst young migrants.”

In the survey, 59 per cent of respondents cited bureaucracy as having negatively impacted on their job search;  58 per cent also noted that the qualification procedure (including the interview and presentation) was a negative experience; while 56 per cent indicated that communication skills was a barrier to securing a job.

“Ireland’s increasingly tight labour market creates additional constraints for young migrants who are seeking work, or seeking to upgrade to a better job.  The Pathways to Work project offers practical support to young migrants, which will help them build their self-esteem; develop a high-quality CV; and present well at an interview.  By ‘selling’ themselves in the best possible way, young migrants – many of whom are highly skilled and are high academic achievers – should be able to compete fairly with their local counterparts in the jobs market,” said Dr Mutwarasibo.

The Pathways to Work training has already been piloted in Ireland among a group of ten young migrants.

Speaking about participating in the pilot training programme, Hailuu Netsiyanwa, a 23-year-old Zimbabwean-born Irish resident, said:  “Lots of information is available – from various sources – about job-seeking in Ireland.  But what’s great about this course is that it makes everything available in one place, and the information and materials are presented in a really clear, interesting and interactive format.

“For migrants, especially, the information available takes account of the fact that Ireland has a range of employment legislation that’s very different from that in most of our countries of origin.  As well as that, the information offered on CV and interview preparation is specifically adapted to meet the expectations of Irish or European employers, and that’s something of real benefit to young migrants, as we often grapple with preparing CVs and conducting successful interviews.

“Above all, the course has been helpful in instilling greater confidence in me and my colleagues when it comes to competing for jobs – for which we are well qualified– in the local economy.  Too often, it’s been our experience that the jobs we’re offered do not match our academic qualifications or experience levels.  By taking part in this course, I hope the playing pitch will be more level when it comes to competing in the labour market,” he said

Each partner will now plan to hold a launch event in their respective countries to tell everyone about this great FREE resource.

*The research, entitled ‘Training Needs of Young Migrants within European Countries’ was published in 2010 and is available in the reports section of the site.

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EPIC (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities)


EPIC (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities) is a FREE* programme supporting adults from EU states entitled to work in Ireland and those from non-EU states with stamp 4 to secure employment, training and education in Ireland.

EPIC provides six weeks classroom based training plus ongoing individual support –

§         Pre Employment and English for Work Training (3 weeks) – Business English vocabulary; CV and cover letter writing techniques; telephone skills for job hunting and in the workplace; advice on how to look for a job.

§         Interview Skills Training (1 Week) Intensive interview preparation including different tips, skills and techniques. Each client attends a mock interview.

§         Living and Working in Ireland Training (2 weeks) – Information sessions to increase understanding of the Irish system and promote social integration. Topics include employment rights, social welfare to work, volunteering, access to education and healthcare. IT Training is provided focusing on Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

§         Career guidance & assistance applying for jobs and training.  Each client works individually with a Training and Employment Officer (TEO) to help them find suitable work or training. This includes career guidance, CV preparation, psychometric testing & coaching for interviews.

§         Social Support – advice on Social Welfare, housing, family and other issues.

§         Mentoring service available.

§         Advice for entrepreneurs.

§         Free access to computers for online job searching.

§         Certificate of Participation upon completion of the Training.

Applicants need an intermediate or higher level of English in order to take part in the course.

For more information on the programme please contact the EPIC team:

Address:    EPIC Programme, 30/31 Lower O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 (opposite the GPO)

Telephone:    01 874 3840 and 01 874 3841

E-mail:    epic@bitc.ie

* EPIC is funded by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration (formerly the Office of the Minister for Integration) under the Department of Justice and Equality, co-financed under the European Social Fund Human Capital Operational Programme 2007-2013 and managed by Business in the Community Ireland

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Pathways is ready to take Europe by storm!


The official launch of Pathways to Work the free e-learning resource for young immigrants takes place in Dublin on June 24 2011 at the European Parliament Building, Dublin from 10:00am – 1:00pm.

The European trans-national partnership from UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Poland and Greece will present the project and also hear the stories of young migrants who have tried out the course.

Proinsias De Rossa member of the European Parliament will officialy launch the e-learning resource before Q&A session and a light lunch.

To register for the event please contact admin@immigrantcouncil.ie before June 15. For further information please check the launch invite at this link.

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Pathways shines across Europe


The Pathways to Work e-learning course has received rave reviews from facilitators and young migrants who took part in the pilot testing across the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Poland.

Findings compiled by the Spanish partners FLM confirm the positive feedback received during the UK phase of the pilot test.

The facilitator’s response was enthusiastic with 67% saying the site would enhance the learning process for young migrants searching for employment with 89% recommending the materials to colleagues. Modules that address Building Confidence and Employment Preparation came out on top for young migrants with 92% of young migrants indicating they would recommend the site to others.

The UK Pathways team will be holding further meetings with organisations and young migrants to ensure maximum awareness of this free online learning resource.

To read the full Pilot Test report please go to the Reports section of the site.

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Pathways Goes from Strength to Strength


Pilot testing of the Pathways online course has been completed, with immigrants and facilitators across five countries in Europe. Findings are being analysed by the Spanish partner, Fundacion Laboral del Metal, and we await the report on 6th May 2011. This free, interactive e-learning course provides a range of support materials that have been specialised for immigrants looking for work in UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Poland. It is expected the pilot test report will fully endorse the course and confirm positive feedback reflected by participants on the Belfast pilot test. For latest news on the project download our ezine.

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Zsuzi’s Case Study


Zsuzi Kerenyi was born in Hungary. One day while attending school as a young child, her teacher took her aside and explained she would never speak English well, as she did not have the aptitude to learn a foreign language. This comment burned within Zsuzi for years, until she decided to make a bet with her friend that she could learn English in one year!

While learning the language, she replied to an advert on the Internet from a young Slovak man who wanted to practice speaking English with someone. This was just what Zsuzi needed. She replied and they met regularly to practice speaking English.

One year later she passed her intermediate written English exam and she got 100% in her spoken English exam. She not only won her bet, but also £1650 pounds – the same amount of money she paid for her English tuition fees!

With love in the air, the Slovakian man became her husband and the couple moved to Northern Ireland in December 2008. While Zsuzi’s husband secured a job in Belfast, Zsuzi began searching for jobs. Even though she could now speak English, Zsuzi found ‘Belfast English’ an entirely different experience! So she learnt local words and phrases for everyday situations and things, to help her applying for jobs.

Zsuzi went to job centres that referred her to government agencies that briefed her on the employment rights/laws in Northern Ireland. She found the experience confusing, frustrating and difficult to understand. When she participated in the pilot phase for Pathways, her feedback was extremely positive. She felt the website would be of enormous benefit in finding a job and getting information about working in N Ireland. She felt the website provided one stop shop with all the information she needed to know, in one place. Zsuzi intends to use the site to keep abreast of changes in employment law and help her in job search activities.

Zsusi’s tip for success is ‘motivation, inspiration, preparation and strength’.

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Migration Awareness Training


Are you interested in fostering good relations between long-term residents and new arrivals? Maybe you’re keen to find the best way to tackle racist comments or behaviour or perhaps you want to know more about migrant workers and their rights.

Staff from Belfast City Councils Good Relations Unit and South Belfast Roundtable run regular training events for community workers and organisations.

Places are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information or, to book a place, email goodrelations@belfastcity.gov.uk

Migration Awareness Training
Monday 18 April (9.30am to 1.30pm)

Migrant Awareness Training is a half-day workshop designed by South Belfast Roundtable and staff from the Good Relations Unit.

It is an interactive session which explores inward and outward migration and the rights of migrant workers in Northern Ireland. It aims to dispel myths and provide practical information on issues relating to migration.
Ending Hate in our Communities Training
Wednesday 20 April (9.30am to 1.30pm)

Ending Hate in our Communities is a half day workshop delivered by South Belfast Roundtable and staff from the Good Relations Unit.

It aims to give participants an understanding of the extent of bias, harassment and hate crimes in their community and the impact of bias and harassment on those targeted, as well as practical skills to help them respond to and prevent hate crime.

This project is part of the Belfast Peace Plan, funded under Priority 1.1 of the Peace III programme for Northern Ireland and the border region.

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EU Training Pack to boost young immigrants’ career prospects January 2010


PRESS RELEASE

Springboard Opportunities Limited has joined forces with six other organisations to help young migrants maximise their career potential in their new home countries.

Through the project Pathways to Work: An Employment Upgrade Training Programme for Young Immigrants, the groups will develop a training pack to be used across the EU Member States aimed at facilitating young immigrants’ greater access to training and better jobs.

Funded by the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation programme, the training pack’s benefits will include fostering a greater understanding of labour market trends and employment rights and promoting the host country’s training opportunities.

Springboard’s Executive Director said “The project will develop a new training resource, combining classroom teaching and online content, after the main barriers faced by young immigrants, aged between 18 and 30, in partner countries have been identified.

Research indicates that migrants face specific barriers in the labour market, including prejudice and xenophobia, discrimination by employers and cultural differences in working practices and communication skills. This project and the course it will develop aims to help overcome some of those barriers.”

The course will tailor learning materials originally developed by Springboard (the lead agency in the programme) to the needs of the participants. Needs will be established by conducting focus groups interviews involving young immigrants in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Spain and Italy and conducting surveys with young immigrants seeking employment in those five countries.

Italy’s Conform Consorzio Formazione Manageriale, the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Spain’s Funacion Laboral del Metal, Uniwersyet Szczecinski – The University of Szczecin in Poland and Canice Consulting in the UK are the core partners in the project, while Athens-based iRed Institute for Rights Equality and Diversity is an associate partner.

For more information, please contact Charmaine McBride, Administration Officer at projectleader4@springboard-opps.org or by phone on 02890315111

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Immigrants across Europe experience similar barriers to employment


PRESS RELEASE : Monday 10 May 2010

More than two-fifths of young immigrants who took part in a survey in five European countries, feel they are employed in a job that does not reflect their qualifications, according to research conducted by an EU-funded project.

The survey was conducted in Italy, Ireland, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom amongst migrants aged 18 to 30, as part of the Pathways to Work project, Charmaine McBride from Springboard Opportunities Limited, said today.

“Interestingly, the report found that there was no significant difference in the experiences of immigrants across the five countries, that they all perceived similar barriers,” Ms McBride said.

“The young immigrants who took part in the surveys identified some of the barriers they encountered as competition, bureaucratic procedures, recognition of qualifications, individual expectations, communications and social skills and access to information on workers’ rights.”

The project has conducted focus group interviews of 10 young immigrants in each country and questionnaire surveys of 186 people.

The immigrants involved all expressed a need for and interest in training programmes and indicated that they believed appropriate training would help them upgrade their employment level. Participants also perceived training as a lifelong process and as a way to develop their careers and sustain employment.

Of the questionnaire respondents:

• 69% expressed an interest in undertaking training for career purposes
• over 50% of participants had undertaken training previously
• 70% were in employment with 45% in full-time employment.

Partners in the Pathways to Work project are: Springboard Opportunities Limited, UK, Conform Consorzio Formazione Manageriale, Italy; the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Ireland; Fundacion Laboral del Metal, Spain; the University of Szczecin, Poland; and Canice Consulting, UK, while Athens-based iRed Institute for Rights Equality and Diversity is an associate partner.

Notes to Editors
1. Pathways to Work, an employment upgrade training programme for young immigrants – is an exciting partnership led by Springboard Opportunities Limited in Belfast. The EU wide two year project will help young immigrants to overcome barriers and ‘upgrade’ their employment level by developing a training resource that is in a blended learning format with an integrated, multilingual e-learning website. The project is funded by the European Commission through the Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation programme.

2. Established in 1992, Springboard is a leading organization in the arena of developing capacity and building an appreciation of diversity.

3. For further information, please call Charmaine McBride on 028 90315111 or by email on projectleader4@springboard-opps.org

www.springboard.opps.org

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