February 19, 2015

Lords vote to protect migrant domestic workers

An important amendment to include vital protections for migrant domestic workers has been voted into the Modern Slavery Bill by the House of Lords on the 25th February 2015. It allows domestic workers to change employer, meaning they can escape abusive employment without fear of breaching the immigration rules.

The vote was won by 183 to 176. We are hopeful that the Government will recognise the importance of these protections and they will go on to become law.

The Amendment, tabled by Lord Hylton, Baroness Royall of Blasidon, The Lord Bishop of Carlisle and Baroness Hanham is as follows.

Insert the following new Clause—

“Protection from slavery for overseas domestic workers

All overseas domestic workers in the United Kingdom, including those
working for staff of diplomatic missions, shall be entitled to—

(a) change their employer (but not work sector) while in the United
Kingdom;

(b) renew their domestic worker or diplomatic domestic worker visa,
each such renewal being for a period not exceeding twelve months,
as long as they remain in employment and are able to support
themselves without recourse to public funds;

(c) a three month temporary visa permitting them to live in the United
Kingdom for the purposes of seeking alternative employment as an
overseas domestic worker where there is evidence that the worker
has been a victim of modern slavery.”