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Social care workers left out of Immigration White Paper

December 20, 2018

Responding to the Immigration White Paper, the Cavendish Coalition, which represents a UK-wide coalition across social care and health, bringing together employers and unions from state, charitable and private providers, has said it is concerned that the supply of social care workers may be compromised.

Cavendish Coalition co-convenors Danny Mortimer, Nadra Ahmed and Sara Gorton said they were extremely concerned whether the visa proposals in the Immigration White Paper would encourage the numbers of care staff social care needs to sustain services.

“The new immigration system must adjust skills and salary levels to ensure that health and social care provision can be properly staffed by the skilled care staff it needs,” they said.

“While it is anticipated there may be some provisions for doctors and nurses coming to the UK after Brexit, this ignores physios, paramedics and other allied health professionals and there will be severe implications for the social care workforce in particular as well as outstanding concerns on doctor and nurse recruitment.

“The sector relies on lower paid – but hugely skilled – colleagues whose availability would be effectively cut off by a proposed salary threshold of £30,000 and with no special allowance like that recommended for seasonal agricultural workers. Either the Government needs to fund wage increases or make special provision for health and care.

“If the Government does not address this social care crisis the knock-on effects to the population and the wider economy will be enormous. People who are best cared for in their homes or in the community will need greater support from their families (putting strain on other areas of the labour market) as well as the NHS.”

The Cavendish Coalition’s concerns are echoed by the charity Independent Age whose director of policy and influencing George McNamara said the Government’s immigration plans ran the risk of perpetuating the growing staff shortages in the NHS and care for elderly people.

“Adopting a £30,000 minimum salary threshold would be a punishing and cold view of those who provide daily care for older people and some of the most vulnerable in society, and will only result in more people unable to access vital health and care support,” said Mr McNamara.

“Almost one in five social care jobs in the UK are currently filled by migrants from the EU and the non-EEA, increasing to two in five in London. Much of this work is low-paid, but high value, something the Government has failed to acknowledge.

“The Government must make a commitment to ensure that social care roles are recognised in immigration policy, in order to protect those most in need of care.”

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