Agencies Exploiting Workers in the Care Sector: A Growing Concern – April 2024 | QCS

Agencies Exploiting Workers in the Care Sector: A Growing Concern – April 2024

March 6, 2024

The UK care industry has been hit by a wave of exploitation cases, with agencies charging overseas workers excessive fees to come and work in the UK. The number of modern slavery cases reported within the UK care industry has more than doubled in the past year, with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (‘GLAA’), (whose role is to protect workers from labour exploitation across the UK) revealing several ongoing care sector investigations.

The government has made it easier for overseas social care staff to work in the UK post-Brexit; with the introduction of the Health and Care Worker visa route in addition to government assistance to sponsors seeking to fill its job vacancies.

However, the reality is that as the supply chain gets bigger, there’s more chance for exploitation. Recent research by the union Unison detailed cases of care workers being charged fees of more than £10,000 for finding them a job and accommodation in the UK, only to find themselves placed in substandard accommodation and paid less than the minimum wage.

Whilst some care organisations may be unaware of any illegal practices of agencies in sourcing the care workers, by being in any way involved in the process, they risk losing their sponsor licences, risk bad press, and risk being held accountable for the actions of the agencies they work with.

The exploitation of workers in the care sector is a growing concern, and it is important that the government takes steps to address this issue. The GLAA has called for a review of the current system, and for stronger penalties for those found guilty of exploiting workers.

One of the key solutions is to increase awareness of the issue and to encourage people to report any instances of exploitation. The GLAA has also launched a campaign to raise awareness of the issue and to encourage people to come forward with information.

Another solution is to provide better support for workers who have been exploited. This includes providing access to legal advice, counselling, and other support services.

In conclusion, the exploitation of workers in the care sector is a growing concern that requires urgent attention. By increasing awareness of the issue, providing better support for workers, and holding agencies accountable for their actions, we can work towards a fairer and more just care sector.

If you have any questions relating to immigration or modern slavery, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the AfterAthena team (part of the Napthens Group) who are able to offer 30 minutes of free advice to QCS members.

AfterAthena
AfterAthena

Employment Law Specialists

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