Students’ group cautions Indians to fact-check employment rights in UK

Students’ group cautions Indians to fact-check employment rights in UK

As news of several vulnerable Indian students working in care homes across North Wales being allegedly exploited by recruiters emerged, iGlobal reached out to the Indian National Student Association (INSA) UK to dig deeper into the issue and seek out advice for students from India studying in the UK.

INSA UK President Amit Tiwari said: “This is partly due to the ongoing cost of living crisis in the UK and partly due to students’ ignorance of their rights which makes them extremely vulnerable.

“In addition to being aware of their rights, students should also be aware of the background of their employers. Fact-checking is a valuable precaution in cases such as these.”

He was responding to reports that five people based in Wales have been handed Slavery and Trafficking Risk Orders (STROs) over their suspected involvement in the exploitation of Indian students recruited by them. The Indian High Commission in London issued an urgent call-out for support to the affected students.

Tiwari points out that should students experience any problems, it is important they raise it with the appropriate authorities, in the UK and in India, or reach out to INSA UK for assistance and guidance.

“It is also important for universities to hold accountable the consultancies they hire to assist students. Several of these consultancies might also have a nexus with UK-based employers, and such a nexus must also be investigated by authorities,” said Tiwari.

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) – a UK government agency sponsored by the Home Office to protect vulnerable and exploited workers – identified more than 50 Indian students may have become potential victims of modern slavery and labour abuse over the last 14 months. All have received or have been offered the chance of support from the GLAA, including the opportunity to enter the government’s National Referral Mechanism (NRM).


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According to the GLAA, the defendants in the case are originally from the southern Indian state of Kerala in India and have links to care homes in Abergele, Pwllheli, Llandudno, and Colwyn Bay, either by working there themselves or having a direct family link to someone who works in them. They also supplied workers through Alexa Care Solutions, which is a recruitment agency.

Reports to the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Helpline flagged that Indian workers employed by Alexa Care were not being paid correctly or were having their wages withheld. Significant concerns were raised at the same time about the workers’ appearance and that they always appeared to be hungry.

GLAA Senior Investigating Officer Martin Plimmer said: “Unfortunately, where labour shortages exist, there is an increased risk of opportunists using the situation for their own financial gain, usually at the expense of workers that they are exploiting.


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“Tackling the exploitation of workers in care homes is one of the GLAA’s top priorities, and this order is crucial in restricting the activities of those we suspect would otherwise commit slavery or trafficking offences.”

Modern slavery is a serious crime where victims are exploited, controlled or held captive, and threatened or punished to stop them escaping or reporting the crime.


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