European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

UK: Domestic workers call on Downing Street in visa justice plea

Campaigners from Unite, Justice for Domestic Workers, The Showroom and Kalayaan handed in hundreds of signed postcards to 10 Downing Street on 1 April to demand that the Prime Minister reinstate basic visa rights for migrant domestic workers (MDW) and end to this modern day form of slavery. 
Despite strong opposition from charities and unions, the government, in April 2012, abolished the rights of MDWs to change employer once they are in the UK. Under the terms of the new ‘tied visa’, overseas domestic workers cannot legally leave their employer and find new work, meaning thousands of workers being trapped. 
Two years on, thousands of migrant domestic workers have found themselves being tied to their employer, being abused and exploited with no redress living with the added fear of deportation if they speak out. 
Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “The powerful alliance that achieved the Overseas Domestic Workers visa in 1998 is coming together again to expose how the new tied visa has reintroduced slavery status, preventing migrant domestic workers from gaining their rights. 
“We call upon the Prime Minister to make sure that the domestic worker visa is restored. By doing so, the UK could proudly proclaim itself a world leader in combating trafficking and slavery.” 

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.