By Charles Kelly
5 July 2008
The Government will preserve the rights of overseas Domestic Workers for two years, despite the fact that the Domestic Visa does not fit in to the new points system.
The move suggests that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is taking a more flexible view and listening to advice from the Migration Advisory Committee, as well as other groups such as trade unions and campaigners.
Immigration Matters last month exclusively reported that the Government is planning to extend the transitional arrangement for Senior Carer Work Permits beyond the introduction of Tier 2 of the Points Based System, now set for November 2008.
Thousands of overseas Domestic Worker Visa holders will breathe a sight of relief after the UK UKBA announced that it will retain the rights, gained under the 1998 concession, for at least two years.
Workers had feared their protection and rights to switch employers would be swept away under the points system, which favour’s higher skilled migrants.
Campaigners, such as ImmigratioMatters.co.uk and Kalayan, with support from the Philippine Embassy, had lobbied the Government to make a special case for Domestic Workers and last month’s announcement will be welcomed.
In a UKBA announcement on Visit 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 anti-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 top 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 Senior Carers and their employers further encouragement that the UKBA are taking a more flexible and pragmatic approach.