Together Against Charging: Trade Union and Migrant Org Statement

Date Posted: Friday 21st July 2023

ImmigrationPublic Sector Pay

In response to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement that a 5 to 7% pay rise for the public sector would be partly funded by raising fees for immigrants, such as the immigration health surcharge, Trade Unions and Migration Organisations released a joint statement. The Women’s Budget Group is proud to stand in solidarity with trade unions and migrant organisations against this Government’s attempts to pit worker against worker.

Read more here.

As trade unions and migrant organisations, we stand against this Government’s attempts to pit worker against worker. We know that an injury to one is an injury to all.

All workers deserve decent pay, safe working conditions and protections if our bosses seek to take advantage of us. Public sector workers deserve pay rises, but we strongly oppose any decision to fund this by further taxing migrants, by hiking visa costs and NHS fees. This is a blatant attempt to sow division within the labour movement and our communities.

Increasing the Immigration Health Surcharge by 66% and increasing visa costs will push ever more people into destitution and poverty. The UK already effectively taxes migrants twice for healthcare, and has some of the most extortionate visa fees in Europe – a migrant family of four often has to pay around £50,000 over 10 years for the right to stay. This massive increase is simply unaffordable – it will price workers out of being able to afford a visa and force thousands further into poverty during the cost of living crisis, or out of the country.

Migrant workers are a vital part of our communities and our workforce. They are the backbone of our public services, and our migrant members already face the hostility of the immigration system. No worker should be pushed into poverty, unsustainable debt or homelessness simply because of the papers they hold.

We urge the Government to abandon its plans to increase NHS and visa fees for migrants and meet the pay demands of our public sector workers through progressive taxation which ensures those with the broadest shoulders contribute more to our vital public services.

Signatories of the statement: 

  1. British Medical Association
  2. The GMB
  3. NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union
  4. The National Education Union (NEU)
  5. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
  6. UCU – University and College Union
  7. Society of Radiologists
  8. Social Workers Union
  9. Fire Brigades Union (FBU)
  10. ASLEF
  11. BFAWU
  12. International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
  13. Asylum Matters
  14. Black Europeans
  15. Bradford Rape Crisis
  16. CARAG
  17. CARIS Haringey
  18. Caritas Shrewsbury
  19. Doctors of the World
  20. Duhra Solicitors
  21. English for Action (EFA) London
  22. Evesham Vale Welcomes Refugees
  23. Fresh Grassroots Rainbow Community
  24. Focus on Labour Exploitation: FLEX
  25. Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
  26. Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU)
  27. Haringey Welcome
  28. Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
  29. Kent Refugee Help
  30. Kiran Support services
  31. Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)
  32. Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN)
  33. Leeds Anti-Raids Action
  34. Maternity Action
  35. Maternity Stream, City of Sanctuary UK
  36. Medact
  37. Migrants At Work
  38. Migrant Democracy Project
  39. Migrant Voice
  40. Migrants Organise
  41. Migrants’ Rights Network
  42. Music Action International
  43. Pan-African Workers Association (PAWA)
  44. Paul Hamlyn Foundation
  45. POMOC (Polish Migrants Organise for Change)
  46. Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers (PAFRAS)
  47. Praxis
  48. Project 17
  49. Public Interest Law Centre
  50. RAMA (Refugee, Asylum seeker & Migrant Action)
  51. Refugee and Migrants Forum of Essex and London (RAMFEL)
  52. Refugee, Asylum Seeker and Migrant Action (RAMA)
  53. Reunite Families UK
  54. Right to Remain
  55. Runnymede Trust
  56. Seraphus
  57. South London Refugee Association
  58. South Yorkshire Refugee Law & Practice
  59. The Unity Project
  60. The Voice of Domestic Workers
  61. United impact
  62. We Belong
  63. Welsh Refugee Council
  64. Women’s Budget Group
  65. Yorkshire Migrants Solidarity Movement
  66. The3million