Senior Care Workers Added To Shortage Occupation List

In an apparent government U-turn, senior care workers have been added to the Shortage Occupation List, according to a report in Home Care Insight. The original call for senior care workers to be placed on the list was rejected by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, despite guidance in September 2020 from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

Ms Patel stated that she first wanted to assess the impact of coronavirus and the new immigration rules. Although no reason has been given for the change of heart, senior care workers, pharmacists and laboratory technicians will now be added to the list, as per new rules announced on March 4th.

Under the new rules, 20 points will be allocated towards the total of 70 needed to be eligible to work in the UK. The salary threshold will also be reduced from £25,600 to £20,480, which brings the annual income more realistically in line with those of care workers across the UK.

Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said: “Every year we welcome healthcare workers from across the world to our United Kingdom, with many having played a key role on the frontline of the NHS during the recent pandemic. This latest set of changes, combined with our Health and Care Visa, will ensure they can easily get the immigration status they deserve.”

Care England had been lobbying for the change for a long time, and its CEO, Professor Martin Green, said he was pleased with the news, adding that he hoped it would be the start of the creation of migration system which supported, rather than undermined, the adult social care workforce.

The executive chairman of the National Care Association, Nadra Ahmend, also commented positively on the outcome. He added that although it was their preference to recruit from a domestic workforce, the vacancy rate remained high, and therefore no hidden barriers should be placed on migrant recruitment.

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