Giving overseas domestic workers the right to escape exploitation

Since April 2012 migrant domestic workers who enter the UK on the Overseas Domestic Worker visa are tied to their employer, if the worker leaves for any reason – including abuse and exploitation - they will have breached the immigration rules. 

In our experience, the treatment of workers on these new tied visas is notably worse than workers on the previous visa which permitted them to change employers. The charity Kalayaan – Justice for Domestic Workers – has statistics showing a dramatic worsening of treatment; for instance over 60% of those on the new tied visa were paid no wages at all. 

Following a nationwide campaign and a defeat in the House of Lords (later overturned in the Commons) during the passage of the Modern Slavery Act, the government agreed to a review of the visa – under lawyer James Ewins and promised to follow his recommendations.

ATLEU has given evidence to the enquiry and argued that the visa should be reformed to permit domestic workers to change employers – and stay longer than six months in the UK. 

The result of the enquiry has been delayed more than once from July 2015; the most recent indication is that it will be published early next month. ATLEU is confident that the case for reform is overwhelming and is looking forward eagerly to the enquiry result.