Response to domestic workers consultation

YLAL has replied to the Government’s consultation on work related migration and settlement, which sets out proposals aimed at reducing the number of migrants coming into the UK.

YLAL members who work in the immigration sector have prepared the response, which focuses on the plans for domestic workers. Keeping the route for low-skilled domestic work doesn’t fit with Government priorities on being more selective about the workforce and the proposals include capping how long workers can be here, taking away their right to change employer, and scrapping the route entirely.

In our view these plans overlook the contribution of domestic workers to our economy, and disregard their basic rights. The demand for low skilled labour will not go away and these measures make it more likely that workers will face pressure to stay over visa limits or be recruited to the UK and slip into undocumented work, where there is more potential for abuse. The Government’s scheme for processing victims of trafficking won’t solve the problem as not all these workers will qualify. And they will not be able to vote with their feet and change employer if conditions are poor.

We are particularly concerned as these plans would come in alongside Government cuts to legal aid. Low paid workers would no longer get free advice for problems with their employer or about immigration. If they were a victim of trafficking, they would not get legal aid unless they had an asylum claim. Workers could stay trapped in situations of abuse out of fear and the Government has already recognised this would merit free advice in immigration claims that involve domestic violence.

The Government has said that it wants to protect people from the risk of abuse, but we are concerned the proposals may have the opposite effect. When combined with cuts to legal aid, there is a risk that workers will be doubly victimised.
Download our response below.