“Hugely concerning” points-based immigration proposals will be detrimental to social care services, says disability group
Following the announcement that a new points-based immigration system will take place in the UK from January 2021, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has said that this will create instability in the social care sector.
Under the new proposed system, points will be awarded for specific skills, professions, salaries or qualifications/attributes, and visas will be awarded to those who gain sufficient points.
However, in a bid to reduce overall migration numbers within the UK, the Government has said it will not implement a route for lower-skilled workers, which includes the likes of carers.
In response to this, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) commented: “The Government’s crackdown on so called “low-skilled” immigration could have significant repercussions for the staffing crisis in social care, which is already heavily reliant on overseas workers on modest and low incomes.”
Similarly, the VODG, which represents disability support charities, has voiced its concerns over the new points-based immigration system, highlighting that if the proposed system is implemented, then no one would be able to enter the country to take a carer role at a time when the sector is “chronically” short of staff.
The VODG believes that the social care sector needs to be sufficiently resourced to ensure social care providers are able to recruit and retain its workforce and is therefore calling on the UK Government to protect this vital public service.
In response to the points-based immigration system, VODG Chief Executive Dr Rhidian Hughes said: “These hugely concerning proposals by government will only exacerbate workforce shortages in social care. Employers are already struggling to recruit and retain staff due to chronic underfunding in the sector.
“Central government now needs to significantly strengthen investment in the sector. Without that investment we should be in no doubt that in some geographical areas where organisations are struggling to secure staff, these proposals will signal the end of essential social care services.”