Report cover - man sat down talking to care worker

Despite evidence of rising care needs, the adult social care sector in England is facing significant challenges in recruiting, paying for and retaining its staff.

However, we worry that proposed new policies which seek to reduce net migration could have major new impacts on the care workforce. This joint report, written with the International Longevity Centre-UK, reveals in what ways the care workforce is currently dependent on migrant workers.

Findings

- The adult social care sector in England faces a gap of 200,000 care workers by the end of this Parliament because of restrictions on immigration and a failure to attract British workers. Longer term, the sector could face a shortfall of 1 million workers in the next twenty years. 

- 1 in 5 of the adult social care workforce (18.4%) in England was born outside of the United Kingdom, which includes 150,000 working in residential care homes and 81,000 working in adult domiciliary care

- Non-EU migrants account for the greatest proportion of migrants working in adult social care – approximately 1 in every 7 care workers (191,000 people)

- Greater London is particularly reliant on migrant care workers with nearly 3 in 5 of its adult social care workforce (59%) born abroad. 

Recommendations

- Investing in training, apprenticeships and career development to make adult social care an attractive career choice for UK born workers

- Adding highly skilled roles in the adult social care sector - such as therapist and social worker - to the Shortage Occupation List, making them easier for employers to recruit from overseas

- Allow low-skilled migrant workers to enter the social care workforce by opening up the Tier 3 visa route.