15 Dec 2021
by The Homecare Association

The Government has been urged to relax immigration rules for careworkers by the Migration Advisory Committee

Responding to the report, Dr Jane Townson, Homecare Association's CEO said: 

"The Homecare Association has long been calling for a review of migration policy for social care, addition of careworkers to the Shortage Occupation List and a reduction in the costs involved in enabling workers from overseas to be recruited. Indeed, we wrote to the Minister for Care in July 2021 to make these, and other, recommendations. 

We therefore strongly endorse the Migration Advisory Committee's recommendation to the Government to make Care Workers and Home Carers (SOC Code 6145) immediately eligible for the Health and Care Worker Visa and place the occupation on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This will allow employers to sponsor care workers subject to a minimum salary of £20,480 per year – equivalent to £10.10 per hour for a full-time worker. We are also pleased that the Migration Advisory Committee has recognised the prohibitive costs involved in recruiting from overseas and has suggested that the government looks for ways to reduce the financial cost to SME care providers of recruitment through the immigration system. 

In previous reports, the Migration Advisory Committee has argued that funding social care to a level that enables higher wages to be paid, and consequently makes jobs more attractive to the domestic workforce, is the right way to address the workforce issues in the sector, rather than relying on migrant workers to fill the gaps. Whilst the Migration Advisory Committee’s views on funding social care remain the same, and are supported by the sector, it is significant that their position on supporting use of migrant workers in care appears to have shifted. We have been flagging risks of shortages of careworkers in homecare for a long time and it is good to see this finally being acknowledged by the Migration Advisory Committee.

Changes to migration policy are needed urgently, as part of a wider range of approaches to increasing workforce capacity, to help ensure we have sufficient committed and skilled care workers to provide the quality of support we and our loved ones expect and deserve."

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