The National Care Forum has responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the impact of the ending of free movement for social care.
It’s response highlighted the current pressures on recruitment and retention in the sector, including the intense competition that social care faces from other sectors domestically, such as health and retail, and reiterates the challenges created by the joint forces of the pandemic and the changes to the immigration system. Some NCF members are now turning to overseas recruitment for the first time due to the difficulty in recruiting or retaining domestic staff, despite raising salaries. At the same time ending free movement has made it harder to recruit new European workers and increasingly, to retain European workers.
Vic Rayner OBE, CEO of the National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit care providers says:
“Ending free movement has had both short- and long-term impacts on the social care workforce. If things remain as they are over the next five years, with no additional measures by government to pay a fair price for care, address the workforce crisis in social care and ensure that care workers can be recruited from abroad if needed, we are going to see an increasingly worsening workforce situation and spiralling unmet need which ultimately puts more pressure (and expense) on the other part of the public sector. Ultimately, we face crisis in parts of the system as the capacity of social care services declines, eligibility criteria are tightened by Local Authorities and the reliance on agency workers increases. We need to see care workers added to the Shortage Occupation List for a time limited period to help deal with the current workforce crisis.”