William Eichler 10 July 2023

Union warns of ‘significant rise’ in social care exploitation

Union warns of ‘significant rise’ in social care exploitation image
Image: Chinnapong / Shutterstock.com.

Unison has warned of a ‘significant rise’ in the number of migrant workers who are being exploited in the social care sector.

The public sector union has written to care minister Helen Whately warning of unacceptable treatment by ‘unscrupulous’ employers of workers from overseas.

They reported that skilled migrant workers were being forced to pay thousands of pounds in fees, housed in sub-standard accommodation, and forced to share beds with colleagues.

Social care employers often demand migrants pay large fees of up to £15,000 upfront for finding them a job and housing, according to the union. But many end up in poor accommodation, then have rent deducted from their wages.

An estimated 58,000 workers came to the UK to work in the social care sector in the 12 months to March.

In the letter, Unison says: ‘Sadly, this is inevitable in a sector that is built on poor terms and conditions for all care workers, including poverty wages, no proper sick pay, failure to pay for travel time and zero-hours contracts.’

The letter continues: ‘Care worker ill-treatment is rife, irrespective of migration status. But unscrupulous employers have greater powers over migrant care workers, which leads to the most extreme and disgraceful practices.’

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