In a report published today a group of experts on modern slavery reveal that uncertainty, confusion and threats to EU migrants as a result of Brexit is making it more likely that EU workers will face labour exploitation in the UK.
This is a very good, thoughtful report. I’m a bit late to it; the research actually came out in August. The report articulates one of my concerns with ending free movement of workers.
Exploitation of EU workers already increasing. Will be far, far worse after Brexit. https://t.co/JnrGI8OyPa
— Colin Yeo (@ColinYeo1) October 24, 2017
There is lots of lobbying for “sector based schemes” for agriculture, construction, hospitality, food processing and so on — is there a sector that isn’t lobbying and have they thought of suggesting that free movement should stay? — but these are likely to involve “tied visas”. Essentially, big employers or gang masters will go to country X, recruit a load of manual workers, bus them over to the UK and those workers will be allowed in on a short term visa. But they will not be allowed to change employer.
This inevitably makes them very vulnerable to abuse. If they leave the UK they lose any up-front payments they have made for accommodation, travel and so on and the possibility of the work for which they came in the first place. If they complain, they risk being sacked and reported to the Home Office for removal. We have already seen this with the changes to the domestic worker visa introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary.