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Care Workers Should Remain on Shortage Occupation List Report Recommends

A report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that care workers and senior care workers remain on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), but at the same time recommends that the list should also be abolished, and that those currently within the asylum system granted permission to work in any role.

At the outset of the report MAC stated that the review was carried out on the basis that employers should not be able to pay salaries lower than the “going rate” regardless of whether there is a shortage. Currently, where a job Is on the SoL list an employer can pay an overseas worker 80% of the going rate or the minimum salary threshold of £26,200 for a skilled worker (@20,960)

The recommendation is published in the MAC’s Review of the Shortage Occupation List 2023.

In a letter to home secretary Suella Braverman and minister for immigration, Robert Jenrick, MAC chair, Professor Brian Bell, said: “We have recommended that care workers and senior care workers remain on the SOL, given their recent inclusion and the government’s continued failure to respond to our April 2022 report on the sector.”

Speaking earlier this year, Professor Bell said the UK had taken a deliberate policy of exploiting low-paid overseas workers to prop up the social care system.

His letter to the home secretary this month added: “We are increasingly concerned about the serious exploitation issues being reported within the care sector. We therefore plan to closely monitor the use of the immigration system by care work occupations, and the health and social care sector more broadly, and will provide further comment on this area in our 2023 Annual Report in December.”

The MAC’s recommendation to keep care workers on the SOL was welcomed by Sam Monaghan, chief executive of MHA, who commented: “As part of The Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) review of the Government’s Skilled Worker Shortage Occupation list, we fed back our strong belief that Care Workers should remain on the list. Care vacancies accounted for half of all visas issued to skilled workers in the year up to June 2023, so we’re pleased to see that our concerns have been reflected in MAC’s most recent recommendations.”

“However, like MAC, we believe more needs to be done to fix the long-term crisis that exists in the recruitment and retention of social care staff. That’s why we are calling on the Government to fund and enable the creation of a Social Care Council – as part of our wider Fix Care for All campaign. The Council would act as an independent body representing the 1.5 million people working in social care – examining pay scales, accreditation, training and recruitment, and investing more into changing public perceptions around what it means to choose care as a profession.”

“Unless the Government commits to doing more to incentivise and reward these roles we’ll never be in a position where we can build an adequate pipeline of talent in the UK.”

 

 

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