Joint Position Paper on Preventing Exploitation in the Adult Social Care Sector

Focus on Labour Exploitation: Joint Position Paper on Preventing Exploitation in the Adult Social Care Sector sent to the Home Secretary

This policy position paper was coordinated by FLEX and signed by a coalition of charities and experts working in the migrant rights and care sector.

It brings together the latest research and policy analysis of the experiences of migrant care workers in the UK labour market and the risks which make the adult social care sector a hotbed for exploitation and poor working conditions. The paper puts forward a series of priority policy recommendations including the introduction of a National Care Service, improvement to labour market enforcement mechanisms and recruitment practices as well as updates to the visa system.

This Position Paper was sent to the Home Secretary with an accompanying Joint Letter on 18 Dec 2023.

The full paper is available to download here:

Politics Home: Home Office Warned Migrant Care Workers Face Exploitation Risk

A coalition of academics and charities working with migrants in the care sector have called on the Home Office to urgently address issues of migrant exploitation in the care sector.

Since the end of EU free movement starting at the end of 2020, the UK’s care sector has been suffering ongoing and rising labour shortages. To fill these needs, the Government added care work to the Shortage Occupation List, and expanded the Health and Care Worker visa, without investing in the care sector or making sure that appropriate safeguards and policies were in place.  

In a letter to Home Secretary James Cleverly, signatories warn of a “significant increase in reports of severe exploitation” with issues including illegal recruitment fees, exorbitant repayment clauses, non-payment of wages, debt bondage and excessive overtime.

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18 December 2023: BBC: Overseas staff ‘exploited and trapped’ at UK care home

Care home staff have told the BBC they feel exploited and trapped by the firm that brought them to the UK to work.

Employees at Prestwick Care told an undercover Panorama reporter they believed their contracts prevented them from leaving.

The BBC investigation also saw low staffing levels which health professionals said put vulnerable residents at risk.

Prestwick Care denies any suggestion of systematic wrongdoing or bad practice.

An undercover reporter for Panorama took a job as a care assistant at Addison Court in Crawcrook, to the west of Gateshead – one of 15 care homes in the north-east of England owned by Prestwick Care. He worked there from September to November this year, after hearing allegations from local health professionals about conditions in the home.

Addison Court is home to more than 50 elderly people, with weekly fees averaging about £1,100. These are paid for either by the local authority, the NHS, the residents or their families.

Like many care homes in the UK, Addison Court relies heavily on workers from overseas.

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