Government Relaxes Rules to Add Care Workers to the Shortage Occupation List

Aston Brooke Solicitors working in conjunction with Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, had urged the government to provide more support to stem the workforce crisis in adult social care, which included adding carers to the shortage occupation list.

Care England wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, outlining the crisis in the sector and the steps required to be adopted by Government with immediate effect.

Finally, the Government has relaxed immigration rules on care-worker jobs as the social care sector increasingly struggles to attract and retain key staff.

This recent announcement means that the Government has finally recognised the voice of the sector and this important change builds on the government’s delivery of the new points-based immigration system introduced in January 2021.

The decision follows a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that the care worker role coupled with home care workers are made eligible for the health and care visa and placed on the list, which is designed to help migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages.

This was called for “immediately” to temper “severe and increasing difficulties” the sector is facing with recruitment and retention, the MAC said in mid-December.

Home Secretary Priti Patel MP said:

“The care sector is experiencing unprecedented challenges prompted by the pandemic and the changes we’ve made to the health and care visa will bolster the workforce and help alleviate some of the pressures currently being experienced.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid MP said the measure would help to “ensure short-term sustainability” as he also urged care workers to get vaccinated.

Professor Martin Green OBE said:

“Care England has long called for care workers to be on the Shortage Occupation List with our partner law firm Aston Brooke Solicitors. Social care has a workforce crisis and the news that care workers are to be added to the shortage occupation list is very good news for a very hard pressed sector. Care England commends the work that Aston Brookes have done to raise this issue and secure this outcome”

Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors welcomed the announcement and said:

“The addition of the carer position to the shortage occupation list is welcomed by the social care sector in its entirety. This means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK. However, the minimum annual salary of £20,480 for carers is the same set for senior care workers and this may become a pressing issue for care providers but it will interesting to see how the Government tackles this in the coming weeks and months.”

The Home Office confirmed that the Health and Care visa will allow applicants and their dependents to benefit from fast-track processing, dedicated resources in processing applications and reduced visa fees.

The measures will be set in place for a temporary period of a minimum of 12 months and expected to come into force in January 2022. There will be a further review after 12 months and possible extension of the measures.

As part of the points-based immigration system, people applying to come to the UK through the skilled worker route must reach 70 ‘points’ to be eligible for a work visa.

A job on the Shortage Occupation List is worth 20 points. Combined with the mandatory criteria – having an acceptable standard of English, an offer from a licensed sponsor and the required skill level, which are worth 50 points – will ensure people in these roles reach the 70 points necessary.

Aston Brooke is working tirelessly to address the recruitment crisis by assisting care providers. If any care providers require further information, please contact Mr Kashif Majeed at km@astonbrooke.co.uk

 

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