The Home Office has rejected recommendations by its migration committee to open UK borders to foreign senior care workers at the end of the Brexit transition period.
The Migration Advisory Committee recommended last month that senior care workers and registered managers should be placed on the SOL.
In its review of the SOL, it also warned of “stark consequences” of low wages in social care – and if more funding was not announced in a “timely manner” – of pressure ramping up on the sector.
However, it resisted recommending that all care workers should be added to the list and instead called for jobs within the sector to be made more attractive to UK workers by increasing salaries rather than relying on migrants.
In a letter to the MAC, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would not follow the guidance of the review that she commissioned earlier in the year. Instead, she said she would wait to assess the combined impact of both the coronavirus and the new immigration rules.
“Before making any changes to the SOLs, we believe it is right to pause and assess how the UK labour market develops and how quickly recovery is evidenced post-COVID 19 and in response to the introduction of the new Points-Based Immigration System, in terms of overall numbers, understanding migrant and employer behaviours, and where incoming migrants go (both geographically and by sector),” she said.
“We intend to continue scrutinising the recommendations to ensure our approach to applying them aligns with the UK labour market, and will consider whether to implement some or all of them in a forthcoming set of changes to the Immigration Rules in 2021.”
Raj Sehgal, managing director of Norfolk-based Armscare Ltd, said he was “outraged” by the Home Secretary’s decision, adding it would have a “devastating effect” on social care recruitment.
In a letter to Norfolk MP James Wild, Raj said: “It is unbelievable that a Government in this day and age should ignore the advice and pleas given to it. It is a human rights travesty that our frail and vulnerable may be put at risk because providers up and down the country will suffer as a result of shortages in qualified caring staff. A Government which puts the need of the NHS ahead of the social care sector only serves to send out a message which states that they are more concerned about immigration statistics over the needs of our elderly in care.”
CHP has approached Mr Wild for a response.