An opportunity has been missed to recommend care workers to be included on the Shortage Occupation list, the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS) has said.
Referring to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report, published yesterday, NACAS said its proposals for future migration comes as blow to the future of the care workforce.
In the report, the committee said that it does not feel that now is the right time to review the SOL, adding that it may be that the list has “no place” in the future immigration system.
It also recommended that the government’s proposals for an Australian-style points-based system should only be used when it came to “highly skilled” migrants.
It warned that this route “is not the appropriate one to use” to solve the problems the social care sector faces for “low skilled” workers.
Karolina Gerlich, CEO of NACAS said: “Right now, just in England, there is an employment gap of about 122 000 people. Many of the people who are working in social care have come from abroad, a lot of them from the EU – the number is higher and especially so in urban centres like London and in home care.
“A points-based system that favours academic qualifications and previous high salaries will be discriminatory to social care where specific practical training, values-based recruitment and soft skills are important in delivering great care.”
Gerlich said that describing care workers as low skilled shows the “lack of understanding” of the variety of roles and duties and reinforces the ‘low pay is low skill’ belief held by many people.
“Care work is highly skilled, demanding, complex and challenging. It takes a special type of person to do it well. The knowledge and skills needed to care for people and make their lives better should not be undermined by the proposed migration policy so readily,” she added.
“Social care is about supporting peoples’ wellbeing and saving lives as well as providing help with complex health conditions. That needs to be acknowledged as an essential support for the society.”