"Based on today’s announcement the proposals appear to be a missed opportunity.“The government claims it is abolishing the sponsorship system, but this sounds like a change of name rather than substantive reform.“In particular, it remains unclear how proposed reforms to the exit permit will work in practice, and whether under the new proposal employers will retain the ability to object to workers leaving the country.“While some of the measures announced today are positive and if implemented would improve conditions for workers, they do not go nearly far enough.“Rather than re-jigging and renaming the sponsorship system, the government should commit now to genuine deep-rooted reform. Also, concrete measures tackling access to justice, health care and holding the private sector accountable for abuses against migrant workers, must be put in place.“We welcome the fact that a government-commissioned report is categorical about the inadequacies of the sponsorship system. Many of the findings are consistent with Amnesty International’s own research. While the report also makes some good recommendations, it pulls its punches on reform of the exit permit and sponsorship system.“DLA Piper’s recommendations don’t always reflect their analysis of the problem. The sponsorship system is not fit for purpose, and the exit permit isn’t justifiable.”
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14 May 2014, 4:37pm