The National Care Forum (NCF) has responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the impact of the ending of free movement for social care.
The consultation, which closed on October 29, was commissioned by the government in July to investigate the impact of ending freedom of movement on the adult social care workforce, visa options for social care workers, long term consequences for workforce recruitment, and training and employee terms.
NCF’s response highlighted the current pressures on recruitment and retention in the sector, including the intense competition that social care faces from other sectors domestically, such as health and retail, and reiterated the challenges created by the joint forces of the pandemic and the changes to the immigration system.
Vic Rayner, CEO of the NCF, said: “Ending free movement has had both short- and long-term impacts on the social care workforce. If things remain as they are over the next five years, with no additional measures by government to pay a fair price for care, address the workforce crisis in social care and ensure that care workers can be recruited from abroad if needed, we are going to see an increasingly worsening workforce situation and spiralling unmet need which ultimately puts more pressure (and expense) on the other part of the public sector.
“Ultimately, we face crisis in parts of the system as the capacity of social care services declines, eligibility criteria are tightened by Local Authorities and the reliance on agency workers increases. We need to see care workers added to the Shortage Occupation List for a time limited period to help deal with the current workforce crisis.”
Findings from the review are due to be reported back to the government by the end of April 2022.