New UK law affects Filipino caregivers applying for permanent residence

The Philippine's Department of Foreign Affairs reminds Filipino caregivers working in the UK about the new immigration rules that specifies a minimum hourly wage for caregivers seeking permanent residence.

According to the new policy, before settlement visas can be issued to foreign caregivers, they must be receiving an hourly wage of at least £7.02. Only those receiving this amount would be eligible to apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visas, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The new policy applies to caregivers who started working in the UK after December 31, 2003.

The new policy aims to ensure that foreign caregivers receive the proper salary and reduce the number of foreign workers working illegally in the UK.

Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the UK met with British lawmakers last month to protest the new law. During the meeting at the House of Commons at Westminster in London, the group shared their concerns about the new policy to Members of Parliament. Leaders and representatives from the Kanlugan Alliance of Filipino Organizations and Migrant Rights Network also relayed their concerns at the meeting.

"The UK will need skilled migrant care workers for the foreseeable future. Skilled migrant care workers are hardworking families. Settlement is one of the main reasons why they come to Britain. It's unfair to change immigration rules for people already settled who've planned for their lives. Salary level should not determine who settles," Kanlungan said.

The OFWs also said the new policy was discriminatory because permanent residence visas had already been issued to other migrant workers who are paid lower rates and had worked legally for five years in the UK.

UK immigration is also trying to reduce the number of people on student visas who end up working illegally in the UK.

The UK identified the Philippines as one of several countries with a high number of problematic student visa applications. UK immigration says that some Filipino student visa holders work full-time on their student visa and are not genuine students.

If you are not receiving at least GBP7.02 an hour as a caregiver you will have problems renewing your visa or applying for ILR. Your visa could also be cancelled following a UK Border Agency inspection and file check.

Employers are advised to perform regular audits on all migrant workers. If you receive a visit from the UKBA and are employing workers illegally you could face criminal penalties. Anyone found working in the UK illegally could face deportation.

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