The care home sector could face serious disruption, including home closures, unless the government allows employers to recruit care staff and senior care workers from outside Europe.
The English Community Care Association, the National Care Association and the Registered Nursing Homes Association made the claim in a submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the government on how migration can fill labour shortages.
Next month, the government will publish a list of “shortage occupations” from which it will be easier for employers to recruit skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area under “tier 2″ of a new points-based immigration system, to be launched in the autumn.
If senior care workers and care workers are not placed on this list it will be impossible for employers to recruit staff from outside the EEA.
The care associations said the jobs were skilled occupations for which UK and EU applicants are in short supply. But Mandy Thorn, who represents the NCA on work permits issues, said she feared their arguments had not been accepted.
“There is an acceptance there is a shortage of care workers, but the most disappointing thing is they don’t accept care workers are skilled workers,” she said.