Friday, 24 August 2012

New Films for Domestic Workers

Kalayaan is pleased to be part of a series of short films produced by the British Council and ESOL Nexus, looking at various issues affecting the lives of domestic workers in the UK. We took part in the filming alongside J4DW, Unite and the WEA. The link below provides the site for access to the videos from the British Council and includes a variety of topics from ‘who domestic workers are’, to ‘language’ and ‘communication’ issues they may face.

These films will be accompanied by ESOL activities for learners and resources for teachers which will be from September.

You can see the films on the British Council website

Friday, 4 November 2011

Justice for Domestic Workers wins Anti-Slavery award

Kalayaan is delighted that Justice for Domestic Workers (J4DW) has been awarded the 2011 Anti-Slavery Award.   Marissa Begonia received the award on behalf of J4DW at the Human Trafficking Foundation Media Awards held in the House of Lords on Anti Slavery Day, 18th October.  Marissa used this opportunity to remind the audience and Immigration Minister Damian Green MP about the disastrous impact the proposed changes to the domestic worker visa will have. The impacts are likely to include an increase in abuse and return to slavery.

Marissa said:

“With the visa, we are officially recognised as workers and our contribution to the economy, to families and to society is acknowledged. But more crucially for us, we are given the right to change employers if they don’t pay us, force us to work or abuse us. I need to ask why the government is considering removing a visa that been proven to significantly reduce the abuse and exploitation of domestic workers?”.

You can TAKE ACTION to stop these proposals by asking your MP to raise the matter with Home Secretary Theresa May MP as a matter of urgency. Please see the template letter and our briefing on the proposals.  You can also write directly to Damian Green using the points below.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Still time to take action to protect migrant domestic workers

The UK Government is planning to remove the important protections provided by the migrant domestic worker visa. The result will be an increase in abuse, exploitation and trafficking for domestic servitude.

The Consultation which contains these proposals has now closed but the UK Government has not yet announced any decision. If you want to take action, you can still potentially influence a decision by writing to your MP and expressing you concerns. Here is a template letter.

You can also write directly to the Immigraton Minister Damian Green MP, outlining your concerns about the planned changes to the visa, and urging the Government to:

·         Retain the Overseas Domestic Worker visa
·         Ensure that all overseas domestic workers have the right to change employer including those in diplomatic households
·         Ensure that Migrant domestic workers have legal recognition as workers
·         Ensure domestic workers who are in full-time domestic employment are able to apply to renew their visas
·         Ensure domestic workers retain the right to apply for settlement

Address: Damian Green MP, Minister for Immigration, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF

Friday, 2 September 2011

Last chance to save rights of migrant domestic workers

The Government Consultation containing the disasterous proposals for migrant domestic workers closes next week on the 9th September

To remove the visa altogether as proposed would only deter good employers. Employers prepared to break the law in their employment practises are unlikely to hesitate at bringing domestic workers on family or visit visas. Once here on these visas domestic workers would have no rights in the UK and would be working in breach of their immigration conditions.

The other proposed option is for workers to enter on a 6 or 12 month, non renewable visa. On this visa they would not be permitted to change employer, no matter what their treatment, nor would they be protected by UK labour laws. It is not clear what would they would be expected to do once their visa expired as many have been recruited from a third country, to which they would have no right of return without their employer. To return to their country would not be out of the question for many domestic workers who have debts incurred while securing their overseas job. It seems likely that workers would not only be severely exploited on this visa but that employers would encourage (or force) them to stay on in the UK once their visa had expired.

Please respond raising your concerns at the removal of a visa which works well to protect some of the most vulnerable workers in the UK. An online response can be submitted directly here

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Jail for woman convicted today of keeping a domestic worker as a slave

You can find coverage in the Guardian, Telegraph and on the BBC.

Kalayaan is concerned that without the protections contained within the domestic worker visa, allowing workers to leave abusive employers without jepordising their immigration status, future workers in similar cases may be too scared to involve the police.

Please visit for actions to maintain the visa.

Watch our video showing why migrant domestic workers need basic protections in law

This video documents why migrant domestic workers need basic protections in law. The UK Government proposes to remove the existing protections including the right to change employer. Kalayaan demands these proposals are dropped and protections are improved.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Less than a month left to protect migrant domestic workers in the UK!

The Government's Consultation on employment related settlement which contains proposals to remove protections for migrant domestic workers will close on the 9th September- in less than a month.

Please respond before this date to express any concerns you have with the proposals. You can find Kalayaan's full and template response on our website . You can respond online here or can fill out and return the form by post or email here