Cynthia Barker writes...Hi from a cloudy but warm London. Tony Blair's government introduced the 1998 Domestic Workers Visa concession to protect victims of abuse from employers. The immigration concession allowed domestic workers, many of whom were Filipino, who escaped from abusive employers to switch their visa to another employer and eventually obtain ILR (indefinite leave to remain - UK permanent residency) in Britain.
The humane safety net has been pulled, and workers now enter the UK on temporary visas tied to their employers. This means the worker is at the mercy of the family and they can no longer switch visas whilst in the UK - even if they are abused.
In a new report, 'Hidden Away Abuses Against Migrant Domestic Workers In The UK', published by Human Rights Watch, the UK government has been slammed for not doing more to protect abused domestic workers. Many domestic worker still come from the Philippines and are brought into the UK on temporary visas by their foreign employers often from the Middle East or Hong Kong.
I have personally helped many runaway victims extend their domestic worker visas with decent employers. Even though they are now British Citizens, most of them still work for the same employer. This is because the employer is paying them very well and they live in some of London's most exclusive addresses!
Some of the workers brought in by overseas employers were either paid a salary they would have received back home, and in some cases nothing at all - despite the fact that their employers were billionaires.
Liz Hurley's billionaire Indian ex-husband brought in a worker under the old system and paid her the same salary as in India.
UK workers must be paid at least the minimum wage or preferably the ‘living’ wage and they have the same rights as British workers. Unfortunately, under the current temporary visa system we have no way of enforcing these regulations or protecting the migrant worker.
If you need advice on any immigration matter, including overstaying your visa, EU or UK immigration law, or want to appeal against a refusal, call Cynthia Barker on 07850 307687 or 0208 731 5972 or email her your details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Cynthia Barker is a qualified OISC Registered Immigration Adviser, with 15 years experience in immigration matters, with a team of Level 3 Immigration Law Practitioners, Concept Care Solutions, Middlesex House, 29-45 High Street, Edgware, HA8 7UU.