UK visa system criticised

04 Mar 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The UK visa system has been criticised by an investigation instigated by the BBC, which found that the current setup leaves room for abuses to develop within working arrangements.

Conducted by BBC Radio 4's Face the Facts programme, the research found that problematic situations are arising from 'tied' visas. It suggested that some workers were being paid little or nothing for the work done and were, in some cases, being physically abused.

The abuse took place because the migrants' right to remain in the country was tied to their job and this right could effectively be withdrawn by the employer. If a worker leaves their employment, they run a very real risk of being deported.

Karen Bradley, the government's modern slavery minister, told the programme: “We do know that there are problems; that's why I've just commissioned an independent review of the visa arrangements for overseas domestic workers.”

The Modern Slavery Bill, which is already being debated, was described by Ms Bradley as being the boldest attempt yet in Europe to tackle the problems of slavery and human trafficking.

It is hoped that the increased sentencing – life imprisonment for slavery or human trafficking – and a new anti-slavery commissioner will help to give the courts new powers with which to tackle these kinds of crimes.

The report is tackling a very specific type of visa setup. Other UK work permits and visas do not work in this way and there is provision for the protection of the employee. Anyone considering moving to Britain for work might wish to consult a UK immigration lawyer to ensure that they are on the safest and most beneficial visa setup available to them.