The leaders of 37 national organisations have warned that the government’s new Immigration Bill could create a ‘workforce cliff-edge’ for social care.
The Cavendish Coalition has written to the prime minster, outlining the sector’s concerns about the legislation, which has cleared it stages through the House of Commons would see the end of free movement with the European Union in favour of a points-based immigration system.
The letter warns that the legislation currently does not include social care, as the roles do ‘not pass the proposed minimum salary threshold and are not classed as a shortage occupation’.
The coalition has called on the government to introduce a ‘transitional solution’ that would avoid a cliff-edge scenario for international recruitment to social care while efforts continue to expand the country’s domestic workforce.
‘If adult social care wasn’t in a precarious position before coronavirus, it certainly is now,’ coalition co-convenor, Danny Mortimer.
‘One in five health and care workers have said that they are likely to leave their roles after the pandemic, which is pretty worrying given that this was a sector that entered it with 122,000 vacancies.
‘The government has undermined the vital role of social care in its proposed points-based system for immigration, which will effectively turn the tap off international recruitment in an instant and create a staffing blackhole at a time when these services are expected to be more stretched than ever before.
‘And if social care suffers, so will the NHS with understaffed services likely to lead to a very real risk of hospital beds becoming filled during winter as the NHS attempts to pick itself up and resume services that it had to pause because of the initial phase of the virus,’ added Mr Mortimer.
‘It is critical that the government ensure a transitional solution is in place for social care in January 2021 to navigate the gap between the introduction of the new immigration system and a longer term plan and funding settlement for social care in England
‘Currently, we are heading towards an alarming destination with no immediate solution and so, we are urging the prime minister to act.’
A Government spokesperson said: ‘The Migration Advisory Committee has been very clear in its assertion that immigration is not the answer to the challenges in the social care sector.
‘As we implement the new immigration system, we want employers to focus on investing in our domestic work force. Additionally, the EU Settlement Scheme means that all EU and EAA citizens, and their family members, currently working in social care can stay in the UK and we are encouraging them to do so.’
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