Trust for London speaks up for Migrant Domestic Workers
A letter was published in The Times today (9 September 2011) raising our concerns about Government proposals to remove the already limited protection for migrant workers in people's homes. The letter was signed by the Trust's Chief Executive, Bharat Mehta, alongside Sara Llewellin from the Barrow Cadbury Trust and Teresa Elwes from the Bromley Trust.
The three funders have also written directly to the Immigration Minister, Damian Green to raise our concerns, as well as submitting responses to the Government consultation.
The text of the letter as published is below.
Find out more about the proposals and the risks they pose from Kalayaan, the only dedicated charity supporting migrant domestic workers, which is supported by Trust for London.
Threat to safety of migrant workers
September 9 2011 12:01AM
The Government is threatening to remove the meagre protection that migrant workers in this country are currently offered
Sir, As independent funders who have collectively invested more than £1 million over the past decade in tackling slavery and exploitation, including supporting vulnerable migrant domestic workers, we are deeply concerned about government proposals to remove their already limited protection.
More than two thirds of migrant domestic workers work seven days a week with no time off; and almost half work at least 16 hours per day -- for no more than £50 per week. Half have been subject to psychological abuse.
Basic employment rights allow some migrant domestic workers to escape abuse and to continue to support themselves through work. However, the Government is threatening these basic protections by proposing either to abolish a legal route of entry or to tie domestic workers to their employers as short-term visitors without any rights.
These proposals risk deterring legitimate employers from coming to the UK, and give abusive employers the added threat of illegality to wield against their household staff.
We therefore urge the Government to listen to the many voices, including the Home Affairs Select Committee, who see the "overseas domestic worker" visa as a key safeguard against exploitation and even slavery. We must retain these vital safeguards for hard-working people.
Chief Executive, Barrow Cadbury Trust
Grants Executive, Bromley Trust
Chief Executive, Trust for London