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What do points mean? – no more care workers from abroad

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

In its report released at the start of February, ahead of a government white paper on immigration, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) flagged-up serious concern for how a “points-based” qualifying system would militate against the recruitment of care workers from overseas.

With salary being a key criterion in the proposed system, those who might wish to come to the UK to work in the social care sector would not qualify because the work is so poorly paid. For the same reason, providers of publicly-funded social care find it difficult to recruit from the domestic UK labour market.

It’s not only the UK that has this problem, says the MAC; Australia, New Zealand and Canada have all found themselves bending their own immigration rules in order to attract people from overseas who are prepared to do the work that few of their own citizens are prepared to do at the derisory remuneration on offer.

And few workers are likely to be enticed by a mean spirited one-year visa; both Canada and Australia offer the carrot of permanent residency where a long run of permanent employment can be demonstrated – two years in Canada, three in Australia – so the UK is likely to be some way back in the queue unless it can bring itself to make a similar offer.

Which rather begs the question; why are these four western nations so niggardly in their funding of social care that they have to look beyond their shores for people to do jobs that few of their own citizens are prepared to do at current pay rates? Why is public funding bestowed so grudgingly? Governments of these countries appear to be blind to the truth that well-funded social care systems can be drivers of economic well-being.

The UK Government, as we know, continues to do nothing to address the adult social care funding issue. The coming Budget and multi-year Spending Review are two opportunities for the Government to properly fund adult social care, which it has a clear duty to do.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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