June 7, 2024

Japa: Foreign care workers accuse agencies of exploitation

Japa: Foreign care workers accuse agencies of exploitation… In debt holes

By Adesina Wahab

Some social care agencies in the United Kingdom, UK, have come under attacks for allegedly exploiting foreign caregivers who were offered jobs below their expectations after relocating to the country.

According to a report monitored on Black Heritage Radio, some of the caregivers are in serious debt and barely making ends meet in the UK.

Dozens of people working for 11 different care providers have narrated how they paid thousands of pounds to agents to secure jobs working in British care homes or residential care, with most finding limited or no employment when they arrived.

Many are now struggling to pay off huge debts in their home countries and having to work in irregular jobs far below the minimum wage.

Experts say the ban has failed to tackle the deeper issue of exploitation of the workers themselves, many of whom are still in the UK and living in poverty, afraid to leave their employers for fear of losing their visa status.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has now written to the leaders of all three major national parties to demand a full government inquiry into treatment of migrant care workers when parliament returns.
Prof Nicola Ranger, the acting general secretary of the RCN, said: “The exploitation of migrant care workers is a national scandal, but little has been done to tackle it.

“A chronically understaffed social care sector has supercharged its recruitment of staff from overseas and a lack of regulation and enforcement has allowed some employers to profit from the mistreatment of migrants.”

David Neal, who raised the alarm about the care visa system when he was the government’s borders inspector, said: “As soon as we looked at social care visas, we realised there was exploitation going on.”

Lawyers say UK care providers who promise regular full-time work and then offer exploitative or underpaid jobs on arrival may have broken the law. The sponsorship system means an individual’s visa status is tied to a particular employer, meaning many feels trapped.

The care industry has turned to migrant workers in their hundreds of thousands in recent years to solve labour shortages caused by Brexit and the Covid pandemic. The government granted 350,000 health and care visas in 2023 to workers and their dependants, accounting for 75% of all skilled worker visas issued.