The Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake an independent review of the impact of immigration changes on the adult social care workforce.
Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, said in a letter to MAC Chair Professor Brian Bell that the request follows government commitment to an enquiry during a House of Lords debate.
The minister has asked the MAC to look at the impact of ending freedom of movement on the adult social care workforce, including care workers, registered nurses and managerial roles; visa options for social care workers; long term consequences for workforce recruitment, training and employee terms; and any other relevant matters the chair deems appropriate.
“I ask you to consider these points and provide recommendations on how to address the issues which the sector is experiencing with the immigration system and to highlight, where they arise within the scope of the review, wider issues for the Government’s consideration, such as employee terms and conditions,” Foster said.
The MP continued: “The Government will consider the recommendations and determine the appropriate course of action to take where it relates to reserved matters. Where any recommendations relate to matters which are devolved, it will be the responsibility of the Scottish Government, Welsh Government or Northern Ireland Executive to determine how these should be taken forward.
“The MAC should feel free to consult with the devolved administrations, government departments, local authorities and other stakeholders as they deem necessary. This could include (but is not limited to) a public call for evidence to the sector and other stakeholders.”
The MAC has been asked to engage with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other appropriate parties, including Skills for Care, during its review, to ensure the work complements the wider reform worker being undertaken by DHSC.
Commenting on the news, Care England CEO Professor Martin Green said: “As the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, we are pleased that the Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, Kevin Foster MP, has asked the MAC to undertake an independent review of adult social care, and the impact the ending freedom of movement has had on the sector.
“Over the coming months, Care England will continue to engage with the MAC and ensure that the voice of the adult social care sector and workforce is heard.”
Colin Angel, policy director at United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) said: “Across the country, home care providers are telling us that recruitment and retention of care workers has become far more challenging in recent months.
“UKHCA welcomes Government’s decision to review the immigration arrangements affecting adult social care. The fact that careworkers are not able to access the Skilled Worker visa exacerbates recruitment challenges during coronavirus and beyond.
“Even if the Government delivers on its commitment to reform of the care system, changes to migration policy are needed urgently to ensure that we have sufficient committed and skilled care workers to provide the quality of support we and our loved ones expect and deserve.”