UCL Faculty of Laws


Report Launch - Dignity, not Destitution

10 February 2020, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Image of hanging clothes on a clothes line

The Impact of Differential Rights of Work for Migrant Domestic Workers Referred to the National Referral Mechanism

Event Information

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UCL Laws


UCL Laws (Moot Court)
Bentham House
Endsleigh Gardens

About this event

UCL Faculty of Laws invite you to an event to launch the report ‘Dignity, not destitution: the impact of differential rights of work for migrant domestic workers referred to the National Referral Mechanism’ published by the migrant domestic worker charity Kalayaan in collaboration with the UCL Faculty of Laws. The report addresses the impact of denying permission to work to migrant domestic workers with outstanding trafficking or modern slavery claims before the Home Office.

Once migrant workers are identified as potential victims of trafficking / modern slavery, they must wait for a final decision on their status, which can take months or even years. During this period of waiting, only those whose original six month visa was still valid at the date of the first decision have permission to work while waiting for the later decision. Those who receive confirmation that they are potential victims but get that initial decision after their visa has expired do not have permission to work, and must survive on state support of just £35 per week.

Kalayaan’s research draws on interviews with 21 migrant domestic workers to explore the impact of this differential scheme. It reveals that those denied permission to work are drawn into destitution and pressurised into entering informal and exploitative work, and their families overseas suffer. Based on the report, Kalayaan has written an open letter to the Immigration Minister asking her to review this hostile policy and allow workers to live in dignity, not destitution, by letting them work, which will assist in their recovery and help their loved ones.

The event will present and discuss the report’s main findings, take questions and comments on its content, and facilitate a constructive discussion of the best routes to implementation of its recommendations.


Speakers at the event will include:

  • Domestic workers impacted by the issues in the report;
  • Nina Rathbone Pullen, Partner at Wilson Solicitors, who has brought a number of landmark cases advancing the rights of slavery victims;
  • Avril Sharp, Policy Officer for Kalayaan and co-author of the report; and
  • Natalie Sedacca, PhD Candidate at UCL Laws and co-author of the report.

Further speakers tbc.

There will also be a recorded message from Urmila Bhoola, UN Special Rapporteur on Slavery. The event will be chaired by Virginia Mantouvalou, Professor of Human Rights and Labour Law at UCL and Kalayaan trustee.

The event will be followed by networking and refreshments.

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