Immigrants to be shown 'benefits' of unions

Migrant workers coming to the UK will be encouraged to join a trade union, the home secretary said today.

Praising the TUC's work helping vulnerable migrant workers, Jacqui Smith said the government could do more to ensure migrant workers claim their full rights at work.

Ms Smith told delegates at the TUC congress in Brighton she would work with the government's Border and Immigration Agency to help all migrants earning a work permit in the UK learn about their employment rights - including the value of joining a trade union.

She said: "Legal migrant workers should receive a clear and early message on the benefits of joining a union to get the protections they deserve."

Immigration secretary Liam Byrne will report to the home secretary on how this can be achieved by October 1.

Ms Smith praised the "vital" work of the TUC in educating migrant and vulnerable workers, saying it had succeeded in tackling the challenges of immigration "head on".

With demand for skilled jobs expected to rise by five million over the next decade, the home secretary said the government would put measures in place to ensure the immigration system was not abused.

She confirmed David Metcalfe will chair the new Migration Advisory Committee, which is designed to see where immigration is needed in the labour market and inform the planned points-based immigration system.

Mr Metcalfe is an original a member of the Low Pay Commission and since 2005 has been a board member of the Union Modernisation Fund.


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