The ability of the homecare sector to recruit and retain sufficient careworkers will be significantly challenged if proposals contained in a leaked Home Office paper on EU migration policy (note 1) are implemented, says the United Kingdom Homecare Association, the professional body for domiciliary care providers (note 2).
UKHCA notes that this is a leaked report, which the Home Office has said does not represent current Government policy. However, it is probably the best indication to date of the possible future of UK migration policy after the UK leaves the EU.
UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:
“Recruitment to the homecare sector is already difficult for the majority of employers, and the number of people in the UK who will need home-based support will continue to increase.
“The combination of a massively under-funded social care system, and a possible reduction in the numbers of available workers in the UK labour market is a perfect storm.”
Data available suggests that around 7% of the current homecare workforce are non-British EEA nationals, with the highest proportion based in London and the South of England (notes 3 and 4). If the proposals contained in this document are implemented, this will hit older and disabled people’s care across the UK, with the hardest effects likely to be dense urban areas and the South of England.
An estimated 70% of homecare is purchased by the state (note 6), yet successive governments have repeatedly ducked finding a long-term solution to funding people’s care. As a result, many homecare providers have already begun to exit homecare contracts with councils where they have ceased to be financially viable, or do not enable sufficient staff recruitment to meet contractual requirements.
Colin Angel continued:
“Government needs to give very serious consideration to the impact of post-Brexit migration policy, or consider identifying shortage occupations, including social care. We are extremely pessimistic that the domestic workforce will be able to provide the numbers of workers required for the future care of older and disabled people.”