abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

19 Dec 2023

Lauren Crosby Medlicott, Politics Home (UK)

Home Office Warned Migrant Care Workers Face Exploitation Risk

Since the end of EU free movement starting at the end of 2020, the UK’s care sector has been suffering ongoing and rising labour shortages. To fill these needs, the Government added care work to the Shortage Occupation List, and expanded the Health and Care Worker visa, without investing in the care sector or making sure that appropriate safeguards and policies were in place.  

In a letter to Home Secretary James Cleverly, signatories warn of a “significant increase in reports of severe exploitation” with issues including illegal recruitment fees, exorbitant repayment clauses, non-payment of wages, debt bondage and excessive overtime...

“We have been warning the government of the need to address the risks of exploitation in the care sector since the end of free movement,” Peter Wieltschnig of Focus on Labour Exploitation, told PoliticsHome. “It’s evident that the government has failed to listen or take action.”

“It is shameful that the government, in addressing the needs of the sector, has focussed solely on restricting workers’ right to be joined by their dependents,” Jamila Duncan-Bosu, a solicitor at the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit, told PoliticsHome

Instead of taking further steps to ensure the needs of those in the care sector are met and protected from exploitation, Nazek Ramadan of Migrant Voice felt that the government is placing migrants at more risk of exploitation with its “restrictive immigration rules” and “hostile rhetoric”.

“We have deep concerns that the recent changes will only mean that migrants are seen as a resource rather than people,” Ramadan said. “The dehumanising nature of the way in which migrants are treated feeds into a system where exploitation becomes inevitable rather than avoidable.”...

A Home Office spokesperson acknowledged they have “seen significant abuse of those working in the care sector”, and in response, “announced that providers in England will only be able to sponsor migrant workers if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission”.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper accused Government of “turning their backs on serious exploitation problems” in social care...