Thank you for visiting this page. We’re thrilled you are looking to support Kalayaan and our work.
We run several campaigns – some we lead on and others we work in partnership with other charities, CSOs, trade unions and or businesses. This work can see us ask our supporters to sign petitions, contact MPs or join a demonstration with workers.
On this page we set out some of our current campaigns and how you can lend your support and get involved. Please do continue to visit this page regularly for updates on our calls to action! We’d also love to hear from you and chat about any ideas you have so please do get in touch!
Campaign to restore rights for migrant domestic workers #restorerights
We are campaigning for the government to reinstate the terms of the original Overseas Domestic Worker visa (in place from 1998 – 2012) including the right to change employer and right to renew their visa annually on the basis of their continued employment as a domestic worker in a private household. This visa has been found nationally and internationally as the best way to prevent the abuse and exploitation of this workforce. In 2016 the government reinstated the right to change employer after accepting that workers need an escape route from abuse but without the right to renew their visa which remains capped at 6 months. In practice this means that workers are either trapped working for abusive employers, or leave and with only months or weeks remaining on their visa, unable to find work making them vulnerable to further exploitation.
Update March 2021: The government has responded to a petition signed by 12,724 people and said they do not intend to reinstate the original terms and leave the visa as is. You can read the response here.
Update April 2021: The government has stood by its decision not to reinstate the original Overseas Domestic Worker visa. Read their response to Jess Phillip’s parliamentary question here.
Update April 2021: The government has abandoned safeguards, committed to in 2016, by not implementing information sessions for workers newly arrived in the UK. Read the government’s response to the Lord Bishop of Bristol’s parliamentary question here.
Call to action: Please email your MP to ask that they support the reinstatement of rights for migrant domestic workers to keep them safe at work and protected from abuse.
You can find who your MP is here.
For our supporters, you can consider using our template letter here.
For migrant domestic workers, you can consider using our template letter here.
You can also download these template letters into a word document by visiting our publications page here.
Let us know if your MP replies to you so that we can build an alliance of MPs standing up for rights for migrant domestic workers. You can forward any replies you get to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign for the right to work for survivors of slavery #dignitynotdestitution
The National Referral Mechanism (NRM) is the UK’s framework for identifying and providing support to victims of trafficking and modern slavery whilst the state considers their claim to be a victim. It is designed to assist survivors in their recovery, yet research produced by Kalayaan demonstrates that denying the right to work to survivors whilst in the NRM draws them into destitution and makes them vulnerable to further harm and abuse. It also evidenced a deterioration in the mental health of survivors, impeding their recovery and reintegration. Our campaign asks the government to review a particular immigration policy which prevents all migrant domestic workers from having the right to work in the NRM. Only those migrant domestic workers who enter the NRM whilst their original 6-month visa is valid and receive the first trafficking decision under the NRM (made 5 days after a referral is made) have their leave extended in the UK and their right to work in the UK preserved. Those who receive the first NRM decision after their visa has already expired do not have the right to work and have to survive on £39.60 a week provided by the state. Every worker tells us this is not enough for them to survive nor provide for their dependent families abroad. Some have to resort to foodbanks to get by.
Update July 2020: The government has responded to Kalayaan’s open letter calling for a review of this policy. They have said they are currently reviewing their policy on the right to work for asylum seekers and once completed will review whether to bring forward any specific scheme for slavery survivors. You can read their response here.
Call to action: We are currently reviewing next steps. Please check back here soon.
Campaign to ensure survivors of modern slavery can live free for good #freeforgood
Once a survivor of modern slavery is formally recognised by the authorities, there is no automatic entitlement in England and Wales to ongoing assistance or practical support. Survivors who have been receiving support whilst waiting for a final determination on their trafficking claims, often for months and sometimes years, currently have 45 days to exit support services and find alternative accommodation and means to survive. The lack of a guaranteed pathway to further support coupled with 45 days for a recognised survivor to access mainstream services leaves them at real risk of homelessness, destitution and re-trafficking. The Free for Good campaign backs legislation that enshrines victim support into law and has been set up to mobilise support for the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill which would guarantee all recognised survivors to be given leave to remain and specialist support tailored to individual need for 12 months. You can read more about why we support the campaign here.
Call to action: Please visit the Free For Good website to learn more about the campaign and to ask your MP to pledge their support.