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Zimbabwe caregivers in the UK pay huge fees to agencies

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Zimbabweans working as carers in some of United Kingdom’s health care centres are being charged a shock 31% of their initial wages over a period as administration fees by unscrupulous agents back home who would have facilitated their migration, ZimLive can reveal. According to payslips published by Fresh In A Box chief executive Kudakwashe Musasiwa on Twitter, one payslip showed that one worker took home just 604 British Pounds after initially grossing 2 255.13 Pounds.

In the payslip, the worker was charged 700 Pounds, while paying 69.41 Pounds National Insurance and other deductions of 450 Pounds.

The agencies’ costs are normally referred to as Administration or Miscellaneous fees on payslips. UK regulations allow a creditor to pay up to 25% of one’s salary.

Another payslip revealed that a worker who earned 861 Pounds was charged 480 Pounds as miscellaneous fees. National Insurance deducted 7.75 Pounds and pension 34.47 Pounds.

Todd Maforimbo, a Zimbabwean resident in the United Kingdom warned his compatriots against cutting deals without due diligence.

“There’s just too much happening in the UK healthcare sector; please people make wise and informed decisions before coming to the UK as care/support workers,” Maforimbo said.

However, a worker who has since migrated to the UK told ZimLive that the charges were justified as the facilitation package often involved one’s flight tickets and accommodation for the first three months of their stay in the UK.

As per agreement, the worker said he was supposed to pay the agent US$5 000 over a period of 12 months. He said he paid $2 724 for skills assessment, $286 as English test fees and $2 179 for a four-year visa permit.

“We are a broken nation. Home and away…we don’t need white slave owners when we are happy to enslave each other comrades. We must do better,” said Musasiwa.

But responding to Musasiwa, Albert Mandebvu, a researcher in human rights and social justice said the agencies were correct in deducting the fees.

“It’s dangerous to put out a comment like that without all facts. Remember when someone is brought from Zimbabwe, there are tickets and visa processing costs involved.

“These are not freebies, they’ve to be paid back. There may have been agreement between the two to deduct huge amount.”

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