Migration recommendations would ‘shut the door’ to much-needed care workers

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Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee report on a points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration, Simon Bottery, Senior Fellow at The King’s Fund, said:

‘One in six staff working in adult social care in England have a non-British nationality. These workers are crucial for the viability of social care services, which are struggling to cope with approximately 122,000 vacancies at any one time.

‘By prioritising higher-paid workers, the Migration Advisory Committee recommendations for a points-based visa system would effectively shut the door to thousands of people who are desperately needed to shore up the social care workforce. In doing so, the committee has batted the social care staffing problem back to government, challenging the government to improve care worker pay and conditions so more home-grown staff are attracted to the roles. 

‘However, the immediate reality is that the average hourly pay for care workers is below the rate paid in most supermarkets. The committee’s challenge risks being a triumph of hope over reality unless the government provides an immediate social care funding boost and a comprehensive plan for sustainable staffing, and the Prime Minster delivers on his commitment to “fix social care once and for all”.’

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On social care, the Migration Advisory Committee report says:

‘We also expect the result to be a small increase in GDP per capita, a small improvement in the public finances, slightly reduced pressure in health, schools and social housing but slightly increased pressure in social care and a small rise in the dependency ratio. We remain concerned about the situation in social care, but the root cause of the problems there is the failure to offer competitive terms and conditions.’

Page 9 of Migration Advisory Committee (2020). A points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration: report [online]. GOV.UK website. Available at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/migration-advisory-committee-mac-report-points-based-system-and-salary-thresholds

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.