Our letter to the Public Bill Committee scrutinising the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill 2019-21.
By ending freedom of movement between the EU and the UK, this Bill represents a major shift in immigration policy. While the proposed NHS visa aims to support much needed recruitment into the NHS, the current plans for a points-based system do not protect social care. Around 17% of the adult social care workforce are non-British nationals and EU workers have made up an increasing proportion of this total since 2012/13.
Vacancies in social care have risen to 122,000 with an approximate 1,100 people leaving their job each day. Without a sector-specific visa route enabling international recruitment into social care, current immigration policy plans risk exacerbating these pressures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded longstanding workforce challenges in social care and has shown more than ever that people working in social care are not ‘low-skilled’. We should continue to value and support everyone working in social care.