Reproduced by kind permission of Town Crier
Anna Palluto and Cherry Bastero
Anna Palluto and Cherry Bastero, of Flawn Way, Eynesbury, first received work permits four years ago specifically to work as carers. They are currently employed by Beaumont Park Home Care, of Eaton Socon, and pay home visits to elderly people across the area.
The pair believe there has been a change in attitude by the Home Office, after discovering 10 of their colleagues were in a similar situation. They also discovered an article on the Immigration Matters website stating overseas senior care workers would no longer have permits renewed as a matter of policy.
Anna, 32, who is originally from Manila, was planning to apply for residency next year, but has now been told she has to return home.
She said: “I enjoy my life here, it is very peaceful, the standard of living is very good and the countryside is beautiful.
“We have moved our life here – there are no jobs in the Philippines.
“I was looking to become a resident here and I only had one year left, but the Home Office has rejected my permit.
“It is the same for everyone, even if they have families here.”
Cherry, 29, said that the two workers were looking to get the decision reversed, and added: “I was thinking before it was refused that I would apply for residency, but it has all changed with the new rules.
“I’m determined to fight it all the way. It’s really unfair as they did not give us any information.
“We saw rumours on the internet and then we found out when our permits got refused.”
The care workers, who work between 37.5 and 50 hours a week, earn £12,000 to £14,000 a year.
Anna, who has trained to be an occupational therapist, added: “I’ve not received any public funds, I pay big taxes, I’m not living on benefits, I’ve not used the NHS or the schools and I am fluent in English.
The Border and Immigration Agency, which is a new department of the Home Office, denied there had been a change in policy and said decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, although they were not able to comment on individual applications.
A Border and Immigration Agency spokesperson added: “There have been no changes in the rules regarding senior carers. We do not have occupation-specific criteria.
“All work permit applications, no matter what the job title, must meet the work permit skills criteria set out in our business and commercial guidance notes for customers.”
Beaumont Park Home Care declined to comment.