UK Healthcare Workers and Experts Lambast the Points-Based Immigration System
Healthcare workers and trade unions dubbed the government’s new immigration policy an “absolute disaster”. Due to the policy, 140,000 EU nationals will be banned from residing and working in the UK. At that, the Home Office has not come up with a promised NHS visa to cover for the shortage in healthcare.
Healthcare experts have already warned the government of the policy’s repercussions for thousands of people who need special care, including the elderly. Earlier this year, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended to lower salary thresholds from the current £30,000. However, the government suggests “medium skill level” migrants have to earn over £20,480 - a threshold which leaves behind most social care jobs.
An average hourly wage of a social worker last year was just over £8, which translates into a yearly salary of around £16,000. The King’s Fund reports this wage is below the minimum offered by most supermarket chains.
The Health Foundation calculated that the British social care had a total 122,000 vacancies. Migrants filled 17 percent of the personnel in adult social care across the UK, with 40 percent in the capital. Economists at the Foundation believe the new immigration system will further aggravate the crisis in social care.
Experts at the Nuffield Trust point out that providing two hours of daily care to people over 65 would require 90,000 extra home care workers. Thwarting with migration from the EU will deeply affect many vulnerable people. For the record, Australia, whose points-based system set an example for the UK authorities, made generous exemptions for social care workers. Apparently, the Home Office doesn’t follow that lead.
The National Care Association maintains that social care should be well presented on the shortage occupation list and greater investment should be made into this underfinanced sector. The Home Office responds that senior care workers meeting the criteria will still be able to enter the UK, yet given the facts above, the statement seems unsubstantiated.
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