Immigration Rules Now Relaxed to Recruit Overseas Care Staff

The immigration rules are, from today, February 15 to be relaxed to help resolve the staffing crisis in the care sector. Care homes and home care workers have been added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) for 12 months and are now eligible for the post-Brexit Health and Care Visa.

A combination of the pandemic, mandatory vaccination and the UK’s decision to leave the EU has created a staffing crisis, leaving the sector facing a 100,000 staffing shortfall, leading the government to relax the rules that have made it difficult for companies to recruit care workers abroad.

These changes have been implemented following the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation that the government make Care Workers and Home Carers immediately eligible for the Health and Care Worker Visa (which forms part of the Skilled Worker route), and include these occupations on the shortage occupation list (SOL).

In the Government’s “Statement of Changes” published on 24th January 2022 it confirmed that the recommendations will be applied from today,15th February and seek to help alleviate the current pressures on the health and social care sector as a result of COVID-19.

Social care workers, care assistants and home care workers are now become eligible for a health and care visa for a 12-month period, which the government believes will make it easier to fill gaps in the workforce.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), workers from abroad will be able to move to the UK along with their dependents, including partners and children, with the visa offering a path to settlement in the UK.

The reversal comes after comes after campaigners have accused the government of ignoring the role care workers have played during the COVID-19 pandemic, and which has resulted in care workers have been added to the shortage occupation list.

A Department of Health & Social Care spokesman said: “We want to see employers make long term investments in the UK domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.

“Our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work.

“We are doing everything we can to support the incredibly hardworking care staff by including £462.5m in workforce recruitment and retention funds, expanding the Health and Care Visa scheme and promoting our Made with Care recruitment campaign.”

 

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