16 Feb 2022
by The Homecare Association

This week careworkers have officially been added to the Shortage Occupation List.

Homecare Association's CEO Dr Jane Townson said: 

“The Homecare Association very much welcomes the government’s decision to add care workers to the Shortage Occupation List, which makes it more feasible to obtain Health and Care Visas. 

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. Demand is exceeding supply and many providers are unable to take on new work, which is leading to an increase in unmet need. Our findings are supported by data from monthly monitoring of vacancies by Skills for Care and by a Department of Health and Social Care workforce survey.

We are concerned about the cost and complexity of overseas recruitment and the disparity between the minimum wage rate of £10.10 per hour for staff from overseas when the domestic minimum wage will be £9.50 per hour from 1 April 2022. At least 70 per cent of homecare is purchased by public sector organisations. As our Homecare Deficit Report shows, a majority of councils and CCGs are paying fee rates which are too low to enable providers to cover existing costs, never mind increase staff wages.

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.”

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