Employers and unions want migrants Workers Registration Scheme scrapped

The Workers Registration Scheme (WRS) should be scrapped, according to an alliance of employers, unions and migrant groups.

The TUC, the Association of Labour Providers, the National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Federation of Poles in Great Britain have called on home secretary Jacqui Smith to end the scheme.

It was introduced in May 2004 to prevent benefit tourism and to measure the number of workers migrating from the new European Union member states of Eastern Europe.

But the alliance of employers, unions and others claim the scheme has outlived its usefulness and now produces inadequate statistics at great cost to migrant workers and inconvenience to both them and their employers.

The TUC-backed Commission on Vulnerable Employment, which reported earlier this month, has already called for its abolition.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The Worker Registration Scheme is no longer necessary, effective or fair. It costs £90 to register – which is two days wages for someone on the minimum wage – and National Insurance numbers would provide much better information about where migrants are working.”

Federation of Poles in Great Britain chair Jan Mokrzycki said: “I believe that this tax is an unfair burden, and transgresses EU treaty obligations on the free movement of labour. It is certainly an additional tax on some of the poorest and most exploited people in the British workplace, and imposed at the time they can least afford to pay.”

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