Monday, September 25, 2023

Union calls ‘shocking abuse’ of migrant careworkers in UK -Dlight News

Receive free UK social care updates

Migrants recruited to work in the UK care sector are charged upfront fees of up to £15,000 and asked to pay inflated “relocation costs” if they want to move jobs, according to Unison.

The union has written to Social Care Minister Helen Whatley to warn of a “significant increase” in the number of migrant care workers coming to Unison for help after what it called “shocking abuse” by employers. He argues that the problems are systemic and require government intervention.

Cases that Unis has come across suggest that migrants pay thousands of pounds in fees to recruiters in their home countries who employ them – a practice that would be illegal in Britain.

This means that many arrive with debt, making them vulnerable to exploitation because they cannot complain about poor working conditions, low pay or poor housing for fear of being deported before they earn enough.

This is not the first time the problem has been reported but Unison said it is now seeing new cases on a weekly basis. Some employers also ask workers to pay “relocation costs” if they want to change jobs.

Although repayment clauses in contracts are not illegal, Unison says, they are being “grossly abused”, with migrants being charged for air fares they themselves paid, training they did not receive or home office fees employers would normally expect to cover. is

“The Government must stop unscrupulous care employers luring foreign workers under false pretenses, only to then exploit and harass them,” Unison general secretary Christina McEnany said.

Unison’s findings will fuel an ongoing debate about the extent to which the UK should look abroad to tackle worker shortages in low-paid sectors struggling to recruit domestic workers.

Until recently, only senior care workers were eligible to come to the UK on a skilled-worker visa. The government added low-wage positions to a list of “shortage occupations” in early 2022, for which salary and skill requirements are relaxed, as the sector faces an acute staffing crisis.

The change in rules has led to a surge in overseas recruitment of care workers, with around 58,000 arriving in the UK by March 2023 – many of them from India and Nigeria.

A group of right-wing MPs who call themselves the “New Conservatives” last week called on the government to cut record levels of immigration as part of a 12-point plan to close the visa route.

Unison, however, argues that “the only real solution . . . is to properly fund the social care sector”, where both migrant and UK-born staff often work on low pay and unsafe conditions.

The problems reported by care workers are similar to those faced by migrants who came to work on UK farms last year through a short-term visa scheme for seasonal agricultural workers.

Campaigners for migrants’ rights have meanwhile called for reforms to low-skilled visa routes, saying the way they are structured makes it too difficult for workers to speak out if they are mistreated.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “No employee should face any form of abuse, particularly when raising concerns with their employer.”

A spokesman for the department added that all employers must adhere to a code of practice to ensure staff are recruited ethically and treated with respect. Witnesses or victims of wrongdoing can contact the Care Quality Commission, which regulates the sector, the person said, adding: “Employers found in breach of the code “could face legal action and the possibility of custodial punishment”.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles