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Home Office visa ruling could trap domestic workers in exploitation, says REC Childcare

Home Office visa ruling could trap domestic workers in exploitation, says REC Childcare

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation's (REC) specialist group on childcare has responded with disappointment to today's Home Office decision to scrap the Domestic Worker Visa, against the recommendations of a coalition of businesses and human rights groups.

The Domestic Worker Visa provided a critical lifeline for many domestic workers, offering protection for those trapped in an exploitative situation by their employers. A number of REC members in the childcare and housekeeping sector have assisted such vulnerable workers to find safe, high-quality employment by using the visa scheme.

Commenting, Julia Harris of the REC Childcare group said:

“It is extremely disappointing that with this decision, the Home Office has prioritised political rhetoric on cutting immigration over the protection of individuals. The Domestic Workers Visa is not merely a way to meet market needs, but also a valuable tool that empowers workers to withdraw their labour from an unscrupulous employer without becoming illegal.

“It is for this reason that the REC has campaigned with a coalition of politicians, businesses, anti-slavery campaigners and domestic workers themselves to retain this critical lifeline. The Government's decision has thrown into jeopardy the fate of current and future domestic workers who will no longer be able to access alternative work to escape unsafe conditions.

“We encourage the Government to rethink this decision as a matter of urgency. The announced provisions to 'strengthen' pre-entry measures and create written terms and conditions are unlikely to deter employers willing to take advantage of those who work for them. It is also na&iumlve to expect domestic workers to simply leave after 6 months, and scrapping this legal route could drive them into illegal working.”

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