24 Dec 2021
by The Homecare Association

The Government has announced that careworkers will be added to the Shortage Occupation List following recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee.

Welcoming the news, Homecare Association CEO Dr Jane Townson said: 

“The Homecare Association very much welcomes today’s news that the government has decided to act on the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation that care worker jobs immediately be made eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed on the Shortage Occupation List.  

We have long campaigned for a change in migration policy to make it easier to recruit careworkers from overseas to help maintain and grow workforce capacity. 

Our member surveys indicate that workforce shortages in homecare are acute and continue to worsen. Our findings are supported by data from monthly monitoring of vacancies by Skills for Care and by a recently published Department of Health and Social Care workforce survey

We are now calling on the Department of Health and Social Care to produce guidance for care providers on the processes involved in international recruitment and for support with the costs involved. We are aware that some Integrated Care Systems are providing financial support to NHS trusts to help with international recruitment and this is also needed for the social care sector.  

Costs of international recruitment are around £7000 per worker, excluding back-office administrative costs, which can also add up to £6000-7000 per worker, depending on the scale of recruitment. 

We are grateful for two rounds of short-term funding from the government to support retention and recruitment of careworkers over the winter and urge local authorities to disperse this to providers without delay. 

In the longer term, though, we need sustainable investment in our homecare workforce and we continue to call on the government to: 

  • Fund social care adequately so that homecare workers are paid fairly for the skilled roles they perform, and at least on a par with equivalent public sector roles. 

  • End the practice of councils and the NHS of purchasing homecare “by-the-minute”, alternatively focusing on achieving the outcomes people want. 

  • Support development of an expert-led workforce strategy for social care and a 10-year workforce plan, aligned with the NHS People Plan. 

  • Create a professional register for careworkers in England, covering all paid social care workers in both regulated and unregulated care services. Registration of careworkers needs to be adequately funded and carefully implemented.” 



Notes to editors: 

  • Our CEO Jane Townson is available for interview upon request. 
  • The Homecare Association is the UK’s membership body for homecare providers, with over 2,340 members nationally. The Homecare Association’s mission is to work together to ensure that homecare is valued, so that all of us can live well at home and flourish within our communities. The Homecare Association takes the lead in shaping homecare, in collaboration with partners across the care sector, and provides hands-on support and practical tools for its members. As a member-led professional association, the Homecare Association's members agree to abide by the Association's Code of Practice.
  • For further information please contact: Homecare Association Ltd, Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH. Telephone: 020 8661 8165. Mobile: 07393 012 113. www.homecareassociation.org.uk
  • Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP have published a blog on the new provisions, explaining the action employers can take now, to prepare: Health and Care Worker visa extended to care workers (11 January 2022).

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