Divya and Janet (names changed by the charity to protect their identity) shared distressing experiences after arriving in the UK to work in the care sector.
Divya reported being housed with fellow care workers, all of who had their passports confiscated, and were forced into signing a three-year contract with the care company. She described long and painful back-to-back 12-hour shifts and revealed that one compassionate client provided her with much-needed rest and food when she struggled to make ends meet.
Janet, from Zimbabwe, said that her employer charged her £10,000 for a sponsorship certificate. Her work schedule involved many instances of 18-hour shifts for 10 consecutive days.
The government stated that overseas care workers entering the UK should be paid the required minimum salary. It said: “The government does not tolerate illegal activity in the labour market and any accusations of illegal employment practices will be thoroughly looked into,” said an official.
“Those found operating unlawfully may face prosecution and/or removal from the sponsorship register.”