By Cynthia Barker
28 June 2008
Thousands of Filipino and other overseas Domestic Visa holders will breathe a sight of relief after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced last week that it will retain the rights for at least two years.
Workers granted stay in the UK, as part of the Domestic Workers Concession, had feared their protection and rights to switch employers would be swept away under the Points Based System currently being introduced.
Campaigners, such as ImmigratioMatters.co.uk and Kalayan, with support from the Philippine Embassy, have fought for the Government to make a special case for Domestic Workers to avoid going back to the bad old days when many workers brought in by foreign employers were treated like slaves.
In a UKBA announcement on visitor visas this week Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne said:
“We are committed to ensuring that future arrangements concerning overseas domestic workers minimise any risk of abuse or exploitation.
“In addition, the current route will be preserved and then reviewed as appropriate after the first two years’ operation of the reformed immigration system and when we will have properly road tested our ant trafficking strategy.
“The results of the research and analysis will inform the development of any future arrangements and we will work closely with stakeholders to develop a package of reform.”
He stressed that low skilled workers are expected to come from the EU:
“We are being advised on these issues by the new Migration Advisory Committee, but while restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian access to the labour market apply, there will be no further low skilled migration from outside Europe.”
This will give many thousands of domestic workers the chance to renew their visas and hopefully reach the stage when they can be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).