As recently highlighted in the media there are currently over 100,000 vacant roles in the care sector. Some 78% of providers who responded to the exclusive survey, carried out by the ITV News in conjunction with the UK Homecare Association said recruiting carers is the hardest it has ever been. Many describe being at a “breaking point”. Out of the respondents, 95% said they are unable to take on all the new clients in need of their help.
2 years ago a relative of my friend with care homes in Lincolnshire came to see me. He knew I was an immigration lawyer. He was distraught and on the verge of packing it all in. The issues?
’We can’t find the workers’….’nobody wants to work full time as they will lose their tax credits’….’the British workforce are just not interested’…’nobody wants to relocate to the sticks to work for us’…
His plea “Harjap help me”….my solution? ‘have you thought about recruiting foreign workers? Or students already in the UK who are already working part time in the sector?’….he did it…and today his staffing problems have been solved…
So how do we go about doing it?
The UK Immigration system can be complex but with the right guidance can be navigated to benefit the care sector.
In order to recruit foreign skilled workers, whether they are already within the UK or directly abroad, your company needs to be regulated by the UKVI (UK Visas & Immigration). This involves being licenced by the UKVI so that your business can successfully recruit foreign workers without fear of being fined or breaching any immigration rules set by the UK governments stringent policies.
Many potential employees are already within the UK on various types of visas however, and may already be working part time (20 hours a week) for you, in order to work for you they would need to be successfully sponsored by your company through your sponsor licence. This would involve making a complex application to the UKVI and in essence asking them for permission for you to employ the worker full time. Once permission is granted, you then have the benefit of a full time employee tied down exclusively to your company for at least a 5-year period. This is often referred to as a ‘Work Permit’. If you wish to employee multiple foreign workers then we would need to convince the Home Office to grant you an appropriate allocation under the terms of your licence.
Under this licence you can also recruit carers and nurses from abroad.
The solution to current staffing crisis is clearly to recruit foreign workers and it is not as daunting as people often make out. There are many specialist firms of lawyers who can do the whole process for you and you can also save on hefty recruitment fees of employment agencies.
If you urgently need staff then you should definitely consider applying for a UKVI sponsor licence in order to employ qualified foreign workers and help your business grow. No business should be turning away / down work due to a staffing problem which has a solution.
Harjap Singh Bhangal is a Director at Immigration Specialist firm GLS Solicitors (Global Legal Solutions) and is often seen on Sky News, BBC News, and is referred to as the “Immigration Guru”.
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