Immigration Matters has received an overwhelming response from many hundreds of worried overseas care workers and their employers, following this week’s exclusive report “Home Office tells Leading Care providers that Senior Carer Work Permits will not be Renewed”.
Our lines have been jammed with worried callers desperate for any news on the Border and Immigration Agency’s pending decision on Senior Carer Work Permits. I have hardly been able to keep up with the emails filling up my inbox.
Since leaking the story that the Home Office has held secret talks with one the UK’s biggest care providers, we have set up a series of special consultation surgeries at our offices for overseas workers affected by the Government’s u-turn on Work Permits. Our Immigration Advisers have been working flat out to cope with the calls and visits.
Today I met with three Filipino Senior Carers who made the five hour National Express bus journey from Cheshire in the North of England to see us.
The three girls were recruited as Senior Carers four years ago by the huge care group, which sent a team out to Manila to conduct interviews in person. Following successful interviews the company arranged four year Work Permits and the girls flew off to the UK to start a new life. They later brought their husbands to join them.
They have worked for the same company since arriving in the UK and are coming up to their fourth year of continuous work and should have been able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, had the Home Office not suddenly changed the rules last year.
The three workers think that well over one hundred people are in the same boat within the company and some have already gone back to the Philippines.
“How will we pay our mortgage and support our families?” asks Mary
One of the three, Constancia, was cradling her two month old baby boy, born in the UK, who slept peacefully on her lap, blissfully unaware of the problems his parents are facing.
Another, Rose, is about to pick up the keys for their new home which they have just purchased for £128000. Their mortgage and insurance will cost them almost £900 per month and she worries about how she will cover the cost when her employer “lets her go”.
The third, Mary, also has a mortgage and a further loan on a house she bought with her husband last year. She is pregnant and has just returned from a much needed holiday in the Philippines. The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the family.
Mary said “we would not have gone home for a holiday had I known my work permit (which ends in October) would not be renewed.
“How can they just kick us out at such short notice? We have settled here and have kids at schools which they love.
“How will I pay the mortgage and bank loan?” she asked me wiping back the tears.
All of their husbands are working in factories and have paid their taxes without ever asking for a penny in state benefits.
Despite their seemingly desperate position, they are going to fight this all the way. On the advice of Immigration Matters they found out the name of their local MP, Mike Hall, by going to: http://www.parliament.uk. Labour MP Mr Hall has agreed to see the group at his surgery tomorrow.
I advised them to form an ACTION GROUP of affected workers and stick together. At present they are like sitting ducks waiting to be picked off one by one. As a group they have a voice and the power to make it heard at the highest level.
Some Work Permit holders are considering continuing their studies and upgrading their skills by applying for a student visa.
We have continued checking the IND website on a daily basis for further announcements, but the BIA have been silent, despite holding secret talks with the major care groups.
On Line Petition to Prime Minister
Our “Save Our Senior Carers” on-line petition to the Prime Minister is gaining momentum with hundreds of new signatures this week. But it’s not enough! We need tens of thousands if we are to make an impact, so please sign up now by clicking on: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveCarers/
If you are worried about your future in the UK email Charles Kelly
For all the latest Home Office announcements see www.immigrationmatters.co.uk