Page 51 - Unfair To Care 2024 - Who Cares Wins
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A recent survey of working-age carers by the Centre for Social Justice55 has revealed that 41% are contemplating exiting the workforce or reducing work hours due to caregiving demands, signalling a significant economic and personal toll.
The disruption to employment for carers results in broader economic costs, including decreased productivity, higher absenteeism, and diminished employee engagement, costing the UK economy approximately £3.5 billion annually.
Immigration and overseas workers: A report by the House of Commons Library56 says that the Home Office granted 78,000 visas to care workers between June 2022 and June 2023, of which 18,000 went to senior care workers. Social care accounted for 65% of all health and care visas issued, and 37% of all long-term work visas went to carers. This is a very significant increase as the number of people from overseas starting direct care-providing roles increased from 20,000 in 2020/21 to 70,000 in 2022/23.57
The health and care sector has never admitted
such large numbers of work visa holders as in the immediate post-pandemic period, under the post- Brexit immigration system. 57% of care organisations reported an increase in overseas applications. This increased use of overseas workers in frontline care and support roles has been crucial for many care providers faced with a serious problem of staff shortages.
However, in late 2023, the Government announced changes to make it harder for care providers to recruit overseas workers by no longer allowing social care workers to
bring dependants (partners and children) with them58. The care sector is concerned that this change will worsen the continuing problem of staff shortages and high rates of
staff turnover, with fears that care providers could close services if they cannot meet minimum safe staffing levels.
Consequently, care provider bodies59 have called on the Government to act swiftly to invest in improving the pay and conditions of care workers to drive
up domestic recruitment to compensate for the potential impact of this change in the visa rules.
Better pay for domestic frontline care and support staff would reduce the negative impact of the new rules on care workforce shortages and have a positive impact on the economy.
Put starkly, policymakers have a choice between increasing immigration or increasing the pay of frontline care and support workers to prevent
a further deterioration of care services.
  55. 56. 57. 58. 59.
‘Creating a Britain that Works and Cares’, The Centre for Social Justice, February 2024
’Visas for social care workers’, The House of Commons Library, October 2023
’Social care workforce crisis’, The Health Foundation, October 2023
‘Changes to legal migration rules for family and work visas in 2024’, The House of Commons Library, February 2024 ‘Care England comments: Changes to immigration’, Care England, December 2023

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