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Migrant Workers Will Solve UK’s ‘Crippling’ Shortage of Care Workers

From Caring UK July 2017 Edition

7th July 2017

A report released by Independent Age proposed that the UK should open its borders to skilled migrants from around the world to address a shortfall of more than one million care workers by 2037.

However, this report is in direct conflict with the Government’s migration policy to reduce net migration to the figures in the 1990s.  Theresa May was left red faced when Jeremy Paxman pointed out her immigration plans have been dubbed “economically illiterate” during the May 2017 televised leaders’ debate.

The Conservatives made the immigration pledge in both their 2010 and 2015 manifestos but they have so far been unable to make much of a difference in restricting the number of migrants to the UK.

Conservative MP Anna Soubry, Labour MP Pat McFadden and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said migrants “made a vital contribution to our country” as they “bring innovation and ideas” as well as “paying taxes that help us invest in our public services”.

The adult social care sector “faces a perfect storm” and the report cites the crippling budget cuts and an ageing population which still rings true post-election today.

The report warns that the sector will become crippled by a lack of workers to meet demand unless low paid care work is made more attractive to resident workers and that migrants are able to continue to work in the UK.

There is a clear indication that there could be a shortfall of up to 200,000 workers in the care workforce in England coupled with the fact that in less than a generation this shortage of staff will stand at more than a million.

Almost one in five of all care workers are migrants which equates to 266,000 people which make up the largest proportion of migrants working in the adult social care sector. However, despite this the Government’s migration policy has become increasingly restrictive to non-EU migrants.

The Government needs to relax rules on migrant workers to allow skilled workers from outside Europe to come to the UK in order to help the sector meet immediate staffing needs. Moreover, the Migration Advisory Committee must seriously consider replacing senior care workers to the shortage occupation list to ease pressure in the sector.

However, this will not be enough on its own. The report states that we need to encourage resident workers to work in the care sector by offering “better funding”, a ‘care-prentice’ scheme to encourage older people into care work and a national campaign to attract more male care workers.

It is now a reality how a funding crisis in social care could result in thousands of elderly people being forced into hospital beds by 2020, at a cost of billions to the NHS.

The Government needs to recognise that there is a growing need for the contribution of migrant workers in the social care sector. However, the current state of affairs is that the adult social care sector is being threatened by the Government’s increasingly harsh and arbitrary changes to its migration policy.

 


Contributor Details:

Kashif Majeed is a Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors who are specialists in the Health & Social Care sector. Please do not hesitate to contact him on 020 3475 4321 for any issues related to care homes.

This article appeared in the July 2017 issue of Caring UK Magazine and does not present a detailed statement of the Law and does not constitute legal advice. This is a summary only and legal advice should always be sought on an individual case basis.

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