September 4, 2009
4 September 2009
A housing association is planning a legal fight against the government over an immigration rule change which has hit thousands of foreign care workers.
London-based Bahay Kubo Housing Association, which has around 48 homes and houses Filipinos, is part of Kanlungan, a consortium of Filipino community groups which is looking to bring the case.
The organisations are fighting a change in immigration law which makes it more difficult for foreign senior care workers to settle permanently in the UK. They are now fundraising to pay for the judicial review.
In 2006 the government said care workers must have been continually employed in the UK for five rather than four years in order to obtain leave to remain in the UK. The following year, it said they must earn a minimum salary of £7.02 per hour to qualify.
Problems arose when some care workers had their applications for leave to remain rejected because they had gaps in their employment when they had looked for jobs with higher pay to meet the new rules.
They were asked to work for extra time to fill in the gaps but Juvy Ganaden, treasurer of Kanlungan, said some applications were rejected even if the extra work was done. She said a positive ruling would benefit employers who would not have to apply for visas for staff given leave to remain.
Kanlungan chair Benny Clutario said: ‘The government made a mess of immigration rules for care workers but now they are using it to deny them permanent settlement. The care industry relies heavily on migrant labour.’ He added that up to 3,500 care workers could be affected by the problem.
A spokesman for the UK Border Agency said the transitional arrangements – which allowed workers to extend their permission to work when the changes came in – were ‘fair and generous’, and that changes were made to bring the UK into line with the rest of Europe and ensure carers were engaged in skilled work.
Filed under: Campaigns