Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive of Independent Age, said:
“Professional care workers provide a vital service that has been pushed to the limit during the COVID-19 pandemic. But even in more normal times, professional carers receive poor pay and limited recognition for the important and skilled work they do. People in later life have shared with us that the shortage of workers in the care sector can have a severe impact on them, with some seeing a different carer on each visit, who is then expected to perform intimate tasks like helping wash and dress.
We welcome the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation that senior care workers are placed on the Shortage Occupation List, to enable overseas workers to fulfil some of these roles once freedom of movement ends.
However, we know that providing an immigration route for senior care workers will do little to tackle workforce pressures in adult social care. Latest figures from Skills for Care show that there are nearly ten times as many care workers (865,000) than senior care workers (87,000), yet there is still no planned migratory route for this much larger proportion of the workforce.
Independent Age continues to call on the Government to establish pathways for care workers to come to the UK to ensure we do not see further workforce shortages. We also welcome and echo the Committee’s urgent call today for additional funding to enable higher wages to be paid to boost domestic recruitment. Action on both of these fronts is essential if the social care workforce is to be equipped to meet the significant challenges ahead.”