The Government’s latest plans for post-Brexit immigration rules have been branded an ‘embarrassing shambles’ after they failed to include care workers.
Details of the new health and care visas, released by home secretary Priti Patel yesterday, also put a minimum salary requirement of £20,480 on those who wish to come to the UK to work.
President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) James Bullion, said care workers had put their lives on the line during the coronavirus pandemic. ‘To label our staff as ‘unskilled’ does not reflect the sacrifices that have, and continue to be, made across the country.’
With the current vacancy rate in social care at 122,000, he called for a sector specific visa until the government had implemented plans to reform and fund the care sector.
‘As a nation we cannot, and must not, go into what could be the most challenging winter in recent history for health and social care with further uncertainty about where our workforce will come from,’ he added.
GMB national secretary, Rehana Azam, said: ‘The Government’s new immigration rules are descending into an embarrassing shambles and makes no consideration or acknowledgement of the vital job care workers have been doing these past few months.’
She claimed ministers were ‘cutting off their noses to spite their faces’ by restricting workers’ ‘It's those who rely on care and their families who now face being punished by this ministerial incompetence,’ she said.
Local Government Association, Cllr James Jamieson also called for the Government to rethink its plans.
He said: ‘The Government needs to ensure that social care workers are included in the new health and care visa to help fill these vital roles.
‘Social care should be given parity of esteem with the NHS and other health professionals.’
He called for a variable salary threshold across sectors and regions and a long-term funding settlement for local government to ease the financial pressures on social care.