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Free legal & money advice service for EU migrant workers
SCOTLAND's migrant workers will today (Thursday, 1 May 2008) benefit from a much needed online law and money advice service in the following five languages: Polish, Russian, Slovakian, Romanian and English. The service is a joint initiative between Glasgow's Govan Money Matters and Govan Law Centre and is being launched this morning at Glasgow City Council's City Chambers.
The free service - www.glasgowpomoc.com - ('pomoc' is Polish for 'help') will utilise the latest information technology including an online 'virtual advisor' who can communicate in audio in five languages, and provision for 'real time' advice surgeries online. Glasgowpomoc provides straight-forward advice on Scots law topics such as housing law, private sector tenancies and deposits, dealing with debt, diligence, going to court, and UK topics such as social security law, employment law rights, discrimination and abuse at work, and residency rights for EU workers.
Govan Law Centres Principal Solicitor Mike Dailly said:
We are delighted to launch this free resource for Scotland's migrant workers who are all too often subject to exploitation and rip-offs because they don't understand their rights in Scotland. Our initiative is being backed up by a joint advice surgery between Govan Money Matters and Govan Law Centre in Govanhill and Govan. Through our partnership work with Govanhill Housing Association and others we aim to deliver a new community law centre for Govanhill, with free money advice services delivered by Govan Money Matters.
Govan Money Matters Advice Centre's Geraldine Cotter said:
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Govan Law Centre on the new joint initiative. Our successful organisations have the skills that enable us to offer a specialist law and money advice service to Eastern European migrants. We have successful recruited our Polish advisor, Kamila Feddek, to work as part of this new initiative. From the work we have undertaken to date with EU migrant workers we know that this service is desperately needed in Glasgow".
The number of A8 nationals coming to Scotland has been growing. The precise number of migrant workers present in Glasgow and Scotland is not known. The vast majority of migrant workers in Glasgow are Polish (70%). Over a third of A8 nationals (34%) live either in the G40-46 area or the G51-G53 area. That is Greater Govan, Govanhill and East Pollokshields. A8 nationals tend to be in full time low paid employment with 8 in 10 earning between £4.50 and £5.99 per hour - with evidence many are earning below the national minimum wage.
 The new service is being launched at Glasgow City Council's Networking Conference - 'Towards equal acess to information and advice in Glasgow', 10am to 1pm, City Chambers, with a keynote speech by Cllr Irfan Rabanni, Glasgow City Counci's Equalities Spokesperson.
 The new online service is hosted at www.glasgowpomoc.com and goes live on Thursday morning, 1 May 2008, at 9am.
 New images of the appalling living conditions of some migrant workers in private sector flats in Govanhill can be viewed on the glasgowpomoc site here:
 A8 Nationals in Glasgow, Blake Stevenson for Glasgow City Council, May 2007
 http://www.asylumscotland.org.uk/asylumstatistics.php, COSLA Strategic Migration Partnership 2007.