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19.02.20

Health Foundation responds to new government immigration system

Following the unveiling of the government’s new post-Brexit immigration visa plans, the Health Foundation have warned it risks furthering the current social care crisis.

Under the government’s new proposals, the UK would move towards a points-based immigration system – as it promised in its election manifesto – which would seek to reduce overall migration to the UK and reduce the number of low-skilled workers arriving in the country.

After the UK-EU free movement agreement concludes on December 31, the Home Office said EU and non-EU citizens coming to the UK would be treated equally.

Overseas workers who wanted to come to the UK would have to speak English and have the offer of a skilled job with an “approved sponsor” under the proposed scheme. Fulfilling these criteria would see them awarded 50 points.

READ MORE: Government set to relax immigration laws to ease NHS workforce crisis

READ MORE: A ‘more nuanced approach’ to immigration needed for health service, NHS Employers say

Responding to the new points-based immigration system, Ben Gershlick, Senior Economist at the Health Foundation said: “The government’s new immigration system looks set to make our social care crisis even worse. Without any specific migration route for social care workers, these proposals will make it almost impossible for people from overseas to come and work in most jobs in this sector.

“Migrants are a crucial part of the social care workforce. Around 17% of people working in adult social care in England are non-British nationals. In London it is more like 40%. With workforce vacancies currently at around 122,000, the social care system depends on staff from overseas.

“People working in social care should be valued for the major contribution they make to our society. This should involve investing in their skills and encouraging people to stay in the sector. While we have an upcoming workforce strategy for the NHS, any plans to address the workforce crisis facing social care are worryingly absent.

“Social care needs investment and reform to address the underlying causes of staff shortages. As it stands, the government’s new immigration policy will only make existing problems worse.”

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