Social care workers are to be added to the Shortage Occupation List as the Government looks to ease the staffing crisis facing the social care sector. But, warns social care lawyers Royds Withy King, plans to limit visas to 12 months will act as a significant deterrent to overseas workers. The Government is urged to remove or significantly extend the visa duration to help solve the workforce crisis.
Olivia Coles, Employment Law and Immigration specialist at Royds Withy King comments.
“The decision to add social care workers to the Shortage Occupation List following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee is welcomed. Care providers will soon be able to recruit care workers, support workers and home care assistants from outside the UK to help ease the staffing crisis.
“Yet the decision to impose a 12-month limit makes no sense. Care providers are likely to struggle to persuade overseas care staff to give up their jobs, relocate to the UK and source accommodation in a supercharged rental market, only to be removed 12 months later.
“The Social Care sector will need 490,000 new workers over the next 15 years if it is to continue to provide the care and support society requires. That represents a 29% increase in the number of people employed by the sector today. Care providers, whilst welcoming this decision, will also need longer-term solutions to resolve this long-standing staffing crisis, which the Government has consistently failed to provide.
“Care providers looking to recruit overseas staff will need to pay care workers, support workers and home care assistants a minimum of £20,480 a year to qualify and will need a sponsor licence. Sponsor licences are given by the Home Office and can take upwards of two months to process.
“Care providers that already have a sponsor licence will be able to recruit from overseas as soon as the measures take effect, with the fast-track visa application process taking typically just three weeks.”