Care home providers are describing proposed new immigration rules as a “hammer blow to the sector”.
Under a new points-style system, providers would only be able to recruit non-EU care workers at a senior level and pay them a minimum of £8.80 an hour.
Today, the Migration Advisory Committee, a group of economists, published a list of shortage occupations that says only skilled senior care workers should be recruited.
The points-based system, based on the Australian migration model, is made up of five tiers. The MAC’s report relates to tier 2, which covers skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in the UK labour market.
Under tier 2, UK employers will only be able to recruit skilled non-EU nationals into vacancies they they cannot fill within the European Economic Area.
Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said: “We welcome the fact that skilled senior care workers are being recognised as a shortage occupation and placed on the list. However, to link this to a recommended salary of £8.80 is simply unrealistic and unworkable.”
“It is entirely inappropriate to use salary as a basis for skill,” he added. “We cannot understand why frozen fish cutters are deemed to be skilled without an attached salary while senior care workers will in essence be prevented from entering this country to undertake the valued work that those currently here already do. It is another hammer blow for a sector that is already struggling to meet rapidly increasing costs while maintaining a well-trained competent workforce.”
Mandy Thorn, a board member of National Care Association, said: “The £8.80 is arbitrary and it is just so out of reach for the majority of care providers. The Migration Advisory Committee has taken the view that overseas workers are put upon and are working for significantly less than those who aren’t from abroad. But where is the evidence? We are well-regulated so if some providers are found to be doing that they should be penalised, but to paint the whole sector like that is very negative.”
Points based immigration threat to care homes