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'Why would I bother claiming benefits? It’s quicker for me to just get a job.'

last modified Apr 10, 2016 03:43 PM

We spent half a day in Wisbech, observing and speaking to people at the Rosmini Community Centre as well as in the town. While we were there we met Daina. This is her story:

'I've been here for seven years, on and off. I came here from Latvia and now I live here with my partner and my child who is nine years old.'

Diana started her working life in the UK in a factory where, most recently, she worked as a line leader. We asked what brought her to Wisbech. She explained that a friend had told her that there are lots of jobs in Wisbech, especially for people who could not speak much English.

She tells us that a few years ago she worked out that there were 24 places to work in Wisbech where you do not have to speak English.

According to Daina, may EU nationals find work in the UK through agencies. In her experience agencies are usually OK but it depends on what you are in the UK for. They work best, she says, for people who just want to work and work. They are less good for people who have children and need to be a bit more flexible. 

When I ask about uptake of benefits by EU nationals, Daina says: 

‘People who say these things [that migrants come for benefits] I don’t think they have ever applied. So you go and claim job seekers. It can take 4 or 6 weeks to get it. Why would I bother? It’s quicker for me to just get a job. I can get a job the same day if I want one. Before I just finished filling in an online application form and I have to ring to say sorry I’ve already got a job.’