Can a crisis be solved by short-term visa’s?
In a case of déjà vu, the government announced its emergency visa/short-term visa scheme. This time the plan is to recruit migrant workers to drive our trucks- putting fuel in our cars and food on our table. If urging migrants to come and work in the UK wasn’t humiliating in itself, the low uptake to the scheme is maybe more so.
The low uptake is a reminder of the limited perception this government displays for future migrants- it assumes that people will flock to the UK at the drop of a hat because it beckons them. On top of this, there is the contempt it has for those who are already here in the UK. Thousands of migrants are stuck in the immigration or asylum system with no right to work and left in differing states of destitution.
The issue is that short term fixes are once again being used to try and fill a long-term and incredibly restrictive workers visa issue. While we might not have our favourite dishes on the table for our festive meals, one positive take home will be the gradual improvement in worker’s rights and we’ll begin to see an end to low-wages and poor working conditions.
Rather than looking at short term fixes with poorly thought-out emergency visa schemes, any worker shortages could potentially be plugged through allowing people seeking asylum the right to work. The judgment yesterday which has put the governments ban on the right to work in disarray is a start in getting to #LiftTheBan.
Alongside this, we need to remind the government and others in the country that we must respect what migrant workers have and continue to do for us.
Click here to read more of this month’s newsletter including: Celebrating Black History Month, Know Your Rights Workshops, plus loads of new vacancies in the sector!