migrant workers exploited as a result of uk’s employer sponsorship scheme
Thousands of migrant workers have faced exploitation in the United Kingdom (UK) because of multiple failures in the government’s employer sponsorship scheme, according to a new report by the Work Rights Centre.
The Work Rights Centre, an organization dedicated to supporting migrants, published a report titled, ‘Systematic Drivers of Migrant Worker Exploitation in the UK’, to highlight the plight of migrant workers in the United Kingdom.
According to the report, migrant workers who came to the UK face risk of exploitation because of failures in the Home Office’s employer sponsorship scheme.
What happened to migrant workers?
The Work Rights Centre analyzed 40 cases of migrant workers who are at risk of exploitation. The report said, “The exploitation of migrant workers is not coincidental but the outcome of a system, an inadequate and increasingly hostile national policy environment.”
Some migrant workers were scammed by agents. They paid tens of thousands of pounds to agents to secure visas and an employer sponsor to the UK. When they came to the UK, their jobs were not guaranteed and they were fearful of reporting the employer to UK officials in case the employer’s sponsorship registration got canceled by the Home Office, a ministerial department of the British Government.
Fearing that the employer’s sponsorship registration may get canceled by the Home Office, they were forced to accept being exploited or take on risky cash-in-hand jobs.
Plight of migrant workers in the UK
One migrant woman from India is currently stranded in the UK. She has to find a sponsor employer within 60 days to stay in the UK.
She paid £20,000 to an agent in her home country to secure a UK work visa. However, when she arrived in the UK, the sponsor employer told her there was no work for her. If she cannot find another sponsor employer within 60 days, she will be deported to her home country with debts.
She said, “I can’t sleep at night because I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Coming here to work but then not getting the job we were promised feels like mental harassment.”