Care minister Liam Byrne has called for the registration of residential and home care staff from 2007.
The move would protect vulnerable people and give care workers the same professional status as doctors, lawyers and nurses, said Byrne at Skills for Care’s annual conference in Manchester last month.
He also said that the move would boost recruitment and retention in social care.
But the General Social Care Council’s chief executive Lynne Berry said it could take up to five years to register the estimated 750,000 residential and domiciliary care staff.
She said that an estimated further 750,000 workers, including day care staff, would need to be registered after residential and home care staff.
But residential and home care staff might have to pay between £20 and £30 a year to be put on the social care register.
The General Social Care Council consultation, which follows the Byrne’s announcement, also suggests unqualified care staff may need to complete induction training before registering.
While workers will not require a recognised qualification before registering, the GSCC suggests that employers should train registered workers to a “minimum” standard.
• More details on the consultation, which ends on 12 May is available at www.gscc.org.uk