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HRW Urges UK to Let Foreign Workers Change Employers Amid Abuse Reports

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the British government to change the system of a "tied visa" for foreign workers.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the British government to amend the Modern Slavery Bill, which would permit migrant domestic workers to change employers and thus avoid abuse, HRW said in a statement on Monday.

Under the current system of a "tied visa," a migrant domestic worker's visa is annulled if they leave their employer.

The bill is due to be considered by the House of Lords, the UK's upper chamber of parliament, on February 23, 2015.

"We don't need another review to tell us the tied visa system facilitates abuse, both in the UK and abroad," Izza Leghtas, Western Europe researcher at HRW said Monday. "The solution is to amend the bill so these vulnerable people can escape abuse."

Cases documented by Human Rights Watch revealed that migrant domestic workers faced up to 18-hour workdays, physical cruelty, and were held indoors with passports kept by their employers. - Sputnik International
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The introduction of tied visas for migrants in 2012 resulted in high level of economic, physical and even sexual abuse of foreign workers, according to reports by international charities.

"All available evidence confirms our concerns about the impact of the current tied visa on migrant domestic workers, and shows that tying them to one employer has increased exploitation and abuse, including trafficking for domestic servitude," Kate Roberts, community advocate at Kalayaan, a UK-based charity was quoted as saying by HRW.

A HRW report entitled "Hidden Away: Abuses Against Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK" issued last March, showed that migrant domestic workers in Britain frequently face documents' confiscation, malnutrition, verbal abuse, intimidation and underpaid labor.

According to Kalayaan charity, about 16 percent of people who arrived in the United Kingdom following the introduction of the tied visa system reported physical abuse.

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