UK Immigration Rules To Be Relaxed to Recruit Care/Social Work Permanent and Temporary Staff
The government has announced that Social care workers, care assistants and home care workers will become eligible for a Health and Care Visa for 12 months. Care Workers will also be added to the UK’s shortage occupation list, a list that makes it easier for immigrants in the listed occupations to receive a work visa so that they can fill gaps in the workforce.
The new measures come as the health and social care sector faces increasing problems with recruiting and keeping staff after Brexit and COVID vaccination requirements.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said that the care sector is currently facing “unprecedented challenges”, she added that relaxing the rules for the health and care visa would “alleviate some of the pressures currently being experienced”. The salary requirement threshold for immigration purposes will be lowered to £20,480 per year for care workers. Furthermore, the government has also said that applications from care workers will be fast-tracked and that there will be reduced visa fees.
There is a shortage of workers in the care sector (and other sectors), following Brexit and the end of free movement, EU social care workers no longer have an automatic right to work in the UK and must instead obtain a work visa. Work visas can be difficult to obtain for care workers, as many do not earn a high enough salary to be eligible. Also, Care providers are experiencing high vacancy rates and turnover, and pressure on staffing is being exacerbated by the recent spread of Omicron.
The temporary measures are expected to come into effect early next year and will be in place for a minimum of 12 months, providing a much-needed staffing boost while the sector deals with the additional pressures of the pandemic, at which point they will be reviewed.
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