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Immigration Rules Could Be “Relaxed” To Protect Care Sector

The government is exploring the possibility to exempt the social care sector from an anticipated post-Brexit migration policy over concerns that it could significantly worsen the workforce crisis.

The news came from a Whitehall source, who said a no-deal Brexit could lead to the social care system collapsing by Christmas.

Speaking to the Times newspaper a source said “Leaving the EU in October is a different prospect from March, creating a perfect storm. Some workers leave the social care system to take up seasonal retail work as it is better paid,”.

“This will be coupled with the potential exodus of the migrant workers and an influx of expats.”

The government has proposed that migrants coming to the UK after we leave the European Union would subject to a £30,000 minimum salary threshold.

Social care experts believe this would worsen staff shortages in the sector, which currently has around 110,000 vacancies.

Dr Jane Townson, CEO of United Kingdom Home Care Association (UKHCA) said in a recent letter to the Prime Minister: “If post-Brexit migration policy settles on high salary thresholds for skilled workers; the £30,000 threshold and required academic qualifications are unrealistic for most homecare employers and will leave social care increasingly unable to meet the demands from our aging population.”

In December following the release of the Government’s white paper Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: “Freedom of movement has allowed the thousands of staff from Europe – from doctors, nurses and care workers to hospital porters and cleaners – to come to the UK and provide valuable service in our NHS, and today’s plans to restrict immigration could be potentially devastating to patient care and the wider health and social care sector.

“Any arbitrary salary threshold will affect vast swathes of the NHS workforce coming from overseas, and while the earlier floated figure of £30,000 a year may be reconsidered, anything close to this would have a huge knock-on effect for the health service. Doctors depend on a range of staff to support them to carry out their work and a salary threshold would prevent overseas workers from filling these vital roles.

“The BMA lobbied hard to have doctors removed from the Tier-2 visa cap earlier this year, and we’re glad that the Government has finally abolished the limit altogether. However, it’s incredibly disappointing that this victory for common sense has not been reflected elsewhere in this paper.

“Furthermore, these proposals will be phased in from 2021, and with a no-deal Brexit looking more likely by the day, they do nothing to outline what an immigration system for EU doctors will look like if Britain crashes out with no agreement.”

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