• Saturday, May 25, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Thousands of migrant care workers face deportation: Report

An investigation found that 3,081 care workers had their sponsorship certificates cancelled by the Home Office in 2022 and 2023 due to companies losing their right to sponsor workers. (Representational image from iStock)

By: Vivek Mishra

Thousands of migrant care workers in the UK are facing deportation following enforcement actions by the Home Office against their employers.

Zainab Contractor, 22, and her brother Ismail, 25, from India, paid £18,000 to a recruitment agency for care jobs in the UK but found themselves scammed. They were instructed to find a new sponsoring company within 60 days or leave the country, reported The Observer.

“We don’t know how we will survive,” said Zainab, who moved to the UK for a better life for her son.

Ismail expressed his frustration: “It’s not fair. We are being thrown out without being heard.”

An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Observer found that 3,081 care workers had their sponsorship certificates cancelled by the Home Office in 2022 and 2023 due to companies losing their right to sponsor workers.

Katherine, a care worker from Nigeria, described her experience as “hell” after being promised work that never materialised.

Kay Mayo, from S&K Care 24, acknowledged that no care worker sponsored by the company had been given work.

Calls for reform of the tied visa system for care workers have been made, highlighting the plight of workers penalised for their employers’ actions.

“We’ve been punished twice,” Aké Achi, founder of Migrants at Work, told the newspaper.

The Home Office stated its efforts to crack down on worker exploitation but did not provide specifics on support for affected workers.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea criticised the government for leaving migrant workers “in the lurch”, reported The Observer.

Community activist Balakrishnan Balagopal launched a petition urging the government to scrap the 60-day rule, highlighting the difficulties faced by affected families.

Some workers have been able to secure new sponsorship within the Home Office’s deadline, but others remain uncertain about their future.

The government has been criticised for lax vetting processes for companies granted sponsorship licences, allowing potentially dubious entities to operate.

Rachel, from Nigeria, secured sponsorship with five days left before her deadline, but others have not been as fortunate, the newspaper reported.

“It’s terrible – some of them cry,” she said, highlighting the emotional toll on affected workers.

(Some of the names in the investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Observer have been changed to protect identities)

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