Migrant workers guide launched
The Law Centre and Northern Ireland Human Rights
Commission have launched the new revised and updated
version of their online guide to the rights of
migrant workers, with support from the Office of the
First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
Les Allamby, Law Centre (NI) Director, Michael
O’Flaherty, Chief Commissioner of the Northern
Ireland Human Rights Commission, and Virginia
McVeigh, Director of the Commission, launched the
guide on 19 December, to mark International Migrants
The guide helps migrant workers and their families
understand their rights, entitlements and
responsibilities while in Northern Ireland and to
ensure that they receive the right advice if they
encounter any problems.
The English version of the guide is available on the
Law Centre’s website (
now. It is due to be translated into the languages
most used by new migrants to Northern Ireland.
English version of Your Rights in NI
recession and cuts discussed at Law Centre AGM
At the Law Centre AGM on 9 December, James Browne,
senior research economist at the Institute for
Fiscal Studies, explained how families with children
and those on Disability Living Allowance will be
particularly affected by welfare reform.
Eileen Evason, Chair of the Social Security
Standards Committee, stressed the impact on
communities already stricken by the recession and
expressed concern that, in the current climate,
increased conditionality and stricter work
capability assessments are counterproductive.
Anne McCleary, Head of Policy and Legislative
Division, DSD, recognised the concerns expressed by
trade unions and voluntary groups and argued that
welfare reform will be applied sensitively.
Les Allamby celebrated the year’s achievements and
outlined the challenges ahead, in a context of major
cuts in funding for the sector and public
expenditure, challenging welfare and judicial
reforms and increased demand on advice services.
Sinead Mulhern, Head of the Law Centre’s new Legal
Support Project, explained plans to develop pro-bono
social security and employment work.
Jennifer Greenfield, new Assistant Director
(Casework and Training), presented certificates to
successful candidates of Law Centre accredited
Last month, the Department of Justice for Northern
Ireland issued a discussion document which draws on
many of the themes discussed in two research reports
recently published by the Law Centre and authored by
Gráinne McKeever, School of Law,
University of Ulster, and Brian Thompson, School of
Law, University of Liverpool.
The reports aim to contribute to the plans for
tribunal reform which are currently being developed
by the Department.
McKeever presented copies of her report,
Supporting Tribunal Users, and Brian Thompson’s
Structural Tribunal Reform in Northern Ireland
to Siobhan Broderick of the Northern Ireland
Court Service at an event held at the Law Centre on
15 December to discuss the Department’s proposals.
Download from our website:
Structural Tribunal Reform in
Supporting Tribunal Users
paper copies from our Publications Unit (£4.95 and
Benefits and right to reside for parents of
This Latvian man worked in Northern Ireland for
almost two years with the same employer before he
was made redundant in the economic downturn. He had
registered his employment but as there was a gap of
more than 30 days in the employment, he needed to
re-register for a new twelve months period. Neither
he nor his employer understood this.
When he claimed Income-based JSA in November 2009,
he was refused as he was found not to have a right
to reside. His daughter was at secondary school
here and she was then taken into care, largely
because her parents had no income and were
The Law Centre represented him at an appeal which
was disallowed and we appealed the decision to the
social security commissioner. The commissioner
allowed the appeal and found that he did have a
right to reside when he made his initial claim as he
had a child at school.
We convinced the SSA to pay JSA for the period when
his daughter was in care and he was looking for
work. Housing Benefit was also backdated to cover
the periods for which he was paid income-based JSA.
He has successfully made a fresh claim for JSA*.
We are currently helping him with issues of
substantial housing debt and legal costs of eviction
that arose when he was not paid benefit.
*Since May 2011, A8 nationals have had the same
benefit entitlements as EEA nationals.