Brexit threat to care workforce

Tens of thousands of workers in the care sector could lose their right to work in the UK following the vote for Brexit.

That’s the warning of a new report by Independent Age, the older people’s charity, and the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK).

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said:  “Care services for elderly and disabled people have come to rely on migrant workers, especially from the European Union, so the consequences could be severe if they are unable to work here in future.

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“As with the NHS, we need to secure the right for these essential workers to remain in the UK. But in the longer term we have to recruit more British born workers to social care and that means making sure that they are well paid, well trained and secure in their jobs. That can’t happen without a commitment to fund the care sector properly.”

The research found that workers from the European Economic Area (EEA) make up the great majority of migrants to coming to England to work in adult social care each year and that the vast majority of these do not have British citizenship.

In London, one in nine social care workers (almost 20,000 people) could be at risk of losing their right to work in the UK, with the figure one in 10 for the south east (almost 23,000 people).

The report found that in the past 10 years, staff turnover rates in social care have increased from 18% to 24.3%, and vacancy rates have increased from 3.5% to 5.1%.

It predicts a potential shortfall of over a million workers in social care over the next 20 years, adding increased demand and recruitment difficulties could lead to a near doubling of the ‘care ratio’ of care workers to older people, from one worker per seven older people today, to one worker per 13.5 older people in 2037.

To read the report, click here.

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