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Exclusion of care staff from work visa is an insult to a highly skilled workforce

14 July, 2020

By Karolina Gerlich, executive director of The Care Workers’ Charity

The sector has rallied during this Covid-19 national crisis. We were hoping that care workers would be recognised, so it was very disappointing to hear the government’s statement on immigration.

Post-Brexit immigration plans by the government confirmed today that care workers are not classified as skilled workers and are not listed as a profession that qualifies for a Health and Care Visa.

Every care worker is highly skilled and a significant part of the care workforce consists of foreign care workers who spend their lives caring for our family and friends in need. The immigration policy is a direct insult to a hard-working sector who have risked their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic to care for those in need, sacrificing their own safety and the safety and wellbeing of their families.

Care workers were on the frontline during Covid-19, fighting a seemingly losing battle, but never once wavering or giving up on those in need despite the overwhelming pressure and undesirable conditions. Some lost their lives, lost their loved ones, people they care for, financial stability, their mental health has even been affected. The consequences of Covid-19 have left scars that may never heal and yet they are still out there on the front line.

It is unfathomable that their bravery and courage should be repaid in this way. Denying skilled and competent care workers the right to enter the country under the Health and Care Visa will heavily and irreversibly impact a sector that is already at collapse from a struggling recruitment and retention rate.

Social care cannot continue to be crippled this way, it is already at breaking point and these new measures will only serve to worsen the conditions it is already facing.

We need to stand together and demand recognition and rights for care workers of every nation who work in the UK to support those most in need. All care workers are highly skilled and invaluable members of the workforce and should be treated as such.

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