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BASW response to the MAC report

CEO Ruth Allen calls for a review of migration barriers after report warns of risks to social care under new immigration rules

BASW is calling for “a review of barriers for care workers” to tackle the UK’s social care churn and vacancy rate, following a warning to government from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

A report released this week from the MAC warned ministers they need to make it easier for employers to recruit senior care workers and managers from abroad under the new points-based immigration system, by placing the roles on the shortage occupation list.

These recommendations do not address the bulk of the vacancy rate however, with most frontline jobs falling under the £26,000 threshold and/or classified as low-skilled, meaning employers will not be able to recruit for these positions from abroad.

Instead, the report urges ministers to “make jobs more attractive to UK workers by increasing salaries rather than relying on migrants”.

In response, BASW CEO Ruth Allen, said: “We need a comprehensive and positive approach from Westminster and all nation governments about how to ensure a supply of well trained, skilled social care staff into the future.

“This means pre-empting the effects of Brexit and new immigration qualifying rules, and better conditions of employment to ensure staffing stability and decent, safe working conditions.

“The coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the risks to the nation’s wellbeing from years of social care staffing and resourcing crisis.

“We need a clear strategy and investment to fill and sustain care vacancies and we urge a review of the new migration barriers for care workers, a commitment to increasing salaries and access to good career paths, and genuine commitment to the care services we need for a decent society.”

Immigration surcharge

In related news, the immigration health surcharge reimbursement scheme opened this week, offering tens of thousands of overseas NHS and care workers the opportunity to claim their reimbursement.

Those eligible can now apply online and access guidance on claiming the reimbursement, which will be paid in 6-month instalments.