Yesterday, Julia Harris and Clare McKenna went to The House of Lords to attend the presentation by James Ewins of his independent review of the Overseas Domestic Worker Visa. The event was hosted by Lord Hylton who welcomed us all and there were about 40 of us in attendance.
James Ewins was commissioned by the Home Office to carry out an independent review of the overseas domestic visa in March 2015 and the review was published in December 2015.
We are proud to say that we took part in the review, with Julia Harris supplying information and data about how the post 2012 changes to the overseas domestic visa have affected the domestic, childcare and care labour markets. Projected figures on loss of revenue to the Treasury caused by the illegal black market that has come about as a result of overseas domestic workers not being allowed to change employer or renew their visa were also provided.
At James Ewins request, Julia contacted the other UK domestic staff agencies to ask for their input, so he was able to show a true representation of the industry.
We were so pleased that some of Julia’s recommendations have been included in the final published review.
James Ewins outlined the content of his review and his plans to try to get the changes he suggested implemented. He seemed committed to trying to push through his recommendations, which include allowing an overseas domestic worker the right to change employer and renew their visa for up to 2 1/2 years.
We also heard from Marissa Begonia, who runs Justice for Domestic Workers, working tirelessly and selflessly to improve the rights of overseas domestic workers in the UK. We wholeheartedly respect and support the work Marissa and her team does. *
We listened to moving testimonies from overseas domestic workers who were so brave attending today and sharing their stories with us.
Diana Holland from the union Unite, who continues to be a great support to the overseas domestic workers summed things up at the end saying that we all need to do all we can to help convince the Government to implement the review’s recommendations.
Even though she had planned to say nothing, Julia couldn’t help herself and added to the discussion on a couple of occasions.
We were very proud to be the only organisation from the private sector represented at today’s meeting and will continue to fight for the rights of overseas domestic workers in the UK and the reinstatement of their right to change employer and be able to extend their visa.
* If you wish to contribute to the wonderful work that Justice for Domestic Workers does, please follow this link to donate to support this very worthy organisation :-