Eastern Europe migrants still need a better deal

Half the visitors to a crisis drop-in centre for homeless in Edinburgh are migrants

28th October 2009:
Even though a UN report has urged the governments across the globe to consider changes to their immigration policies for offering a "new deal" to migrant workers, the ones from Eastern Europe, mostly from Poland, are yet to be provided with requisite assistance.

Available information suggests half of visitors to a crisis drop-in centre for the homeless in Edinburgh comprise migrants from the Eastern Europe. According to charity Streetwork, approximately half of the 80 to 100 visitors are migrants. Its centre serves hot food, gives advice provides a night shelter during the summer.

A majority of the migrants only need help for short period between jobs and move on to new employment and private accommodation. But the homelessness organisations apprehend on the street are often not getting the requisite help.

Streetwork asserts their circumstances of homeless vary; they may have come to the UK after being promised a job only to find that no such job exists; or have had their passports stolen.
Those visiting Streetwork find out the details of the centre through word of mouth or Polish websites. They often secure new jobs and accommodation within a few weeks of arriving.
John Downie, chief executive of Streetwork, says the majority of Polish people need is a bit of signposting and assistance.

With the majority of the indigenous people who seek their help, there are other issues involved, such as drugs and alcohol, mental health, debt and crime-related problems.
For the indigenous population, they have a whole series of options, but for the eastern European contingent, there’s very, very little. We need to be there as a first point of contact, to give them help, but we also need to be able to offer a meaningful next step.

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