Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims

Migrant rights abuses can quite easily go unnoticed behind closed doors and the government were wrong to scrap the visa that offered protection and support.

E-mail-sign-up Donate

 

.
Following the convictions for one of the most shocking slavery cases in modern times, many are searching for answers to how an atrocity thought to be eradicated carried on unnoticed for so long in modern society.

leighton-buzzard-slaveryFraser Nelson, in the Telegraph, said:

It says much about British society that a man can disappear, be kept as a slave in Bedfordshire for 15 years and have no one inquire about him.

The men, a mix of Polish, Romanian, Russian and British, were approached by members of the Connors family at soup kitchens and homeless shelters and offered accommodation and food in exchange for manual labour.

Instead, the men were faced with cramped, unheated living conditions, with no washing facilities and very little food.

The Overseas Domestic Workers visa was introduced in 1998 and allowed migrant workers to change jobs, challenge their employers in tribunals and exercise their right to the national minimum wage while working in the UK.

The government’s decision to reform this visa earlier this year was a huge blow for migrant workers, forcing the rights of migrant workers to take a backseat.

Nelson continues:

[The prime minister] cares enough to have recruited his nanny from a charity that helps immigrant domestic workers escape abusive employers. But in April, his government abolished the Overseas Domestic Worker visa that allowed them to do so legally.

Under the new laws (part of Mr Green’s immigration crackdown), domestic workers no longer have the right to change jobs once they arrive in Britain. So if they do escape their employer, they will have to do so illegally. In this way, a whole new group of workers is pushed closer towards the criminal underworld.

It is quite possible for ministers to write off each of these incidents as a freakish, isolated tragedy. The alternative is to admit that slavery is back in Britain, and is a more complicated problem than trafficking ever was. A new Slavery Act could close any remaining loopholes, make clear to police what they should be looking for, and give them the powers they need to act.

Left Foot Forward reported last year:

Why would the coalition government remove protections for domestic workers? The government wants to reduce the UK’s net long-term migration levels, in response to public concerns about immigration.

If the domestic worker route is to continue, it will be limited to a short-term, non-renewable visa, probably tied to one employer. The coalition government claims this will allow employers time to recruit domestic workers instead from within the UK.

 


See also:

Miliband shouldn’t repeat the myth about immigrants’ impacts on wages 22 Jun 2012

Workers’ rights are being abused all around the world 6 Jun 2012

Time to talk about integration 6 Mar 2012


 

But there is little evidence to support the claim that demand for domestic workers can be satisfied from within the domestic labour market. Instead, the danger here is that a space will be left wide open for a grey economy based on exploitation of migrants within private households.

By scrapping the migrant domestic worker visa, or by greatly restricting it, the coalition government would greatly set the UK back in its protection of vulnerable workers. The need to protect these workers has now been recognised internationally – we should be leading the way by making sure these standards are fully implemented in the UK.

I grew up in Leighton Buzzard and felt incredibly safe there, which makes it all the more shocking to discover that something so appalling took place in a small market town relatively free from serious crime.

Yet the location for this current atrocity just goes to prove that migrant rights abuses can quite easily go unnoticed behind closed doors and the government were wrong to scrap the visa that offered protection and support.

 


Sign-up to our weekly email • Donate to Left Foot Forward

17 Responses to “Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims”

  1. NewsatLeft

    Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could… http://t.co/oEUlSYG4 #GoodSociety #HomeOffice #Immigration #LeightonBuzzardSlaveryCase

  2. NewsatLeft

    Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could… http://t.co/dZpPnX3f #GoodSociety #HomeOffice #Immigration #LeightonBuzzardSlaveryCase

  3. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery… http://t.co/9iu1gE7D

  4. Political Planet

    Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims: Migrant rights abuses can… http://t.co/NIQKU5f9

  5. Extradition Game

    Overseas Workers Visa (abolished by govt) could've helped migrant victims of Beds slave camp, writes @LFFKatie: http://t.co/6lzRyzsx

  6. Katie Stanton

    Govt scrapped the Overseas Workers Visa – which would've granted more rights to the migrants in Beds slave camp: http://t.co/6lOuIM7K

  7. Michael

    Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims – http://t.co/LIN5pisp

  8. Clive Burgess

    Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims – http://t.co/LIN5pisp

  9. Anonymous

    Keep it simple.

    1. Average government spend per head – 11,000 a year.
    2. Migrants can come so long as they pay more than 11K a year in taxes.

    For the first 5 years, they have to have a bond to pay 11K, or pay it up front.

    Simple to administer, you just check their tax returns at the end of the year. More than 11K per migrant (dependants need another 11K) welcome to stay. If not, a thank you, and 3 months to leave.

    That way, we know they are an economic benefit to the UK.

  10. Albert Spangler

    What is the point of this comment exactly? Do you have some kind of mandate to comment on every single article with some kind of irrelevant drivel? This is nothing to do with the economic benefit of whatever, this is to do with the legaly sanctioned exploitation of immigrants. If you cannot recogise the problem of human sufffering, is there any actual point in saying anything? Or are you some kind of automaton powered by banknotes?

  11. Anonymous

    Keep it simple – you need cheap domestic help you can abuse. Yea, you strip 11k of their wages per year for the government. An “economic benefit”, i.e. slave labour.

  12. Anonymous

    He’s here to disrupt the debate, of course, using the left’s openness against itself. Me, I’m not so nice and I’d of banned his ass long ago.

  13. BevR

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims http://t.co/WGjtKhtL

  14. Foxy52

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories abolished Overseas Workers Visa that could have helped migrant slavery victims http://t.co/WGjtKhtL

  15. Mr. Sensible

    What a completely ridiculous notion, LordBlagger.

  16. Anonymous

    Now, now, someone needs to fund him.

    Never mind because immigrants don’t have immediate access to services he’s basically adding an additional tax to deter skilled immigrants, and for poorer ones essentially help create debt slavery.

  17. Sparky

    How ironic that the perpetrators were themselves members of the immigrant community. Of course, you’d never know that from reading Katie Stanton’s article.

Leave a Reply