Suzie Bailey, Director of Leadership and Organisational Development at The King’s Fund, commented on the new list of occupations eligible for the health and care visa (Annex D, p 68)
‘International staff are a crucial part of the adult social care workforce, where one in six staff have a non-British nationality. Around half of these international staff come from the European Union, so the end of freedom of movement already risked significant staff shortages. With this announcement, the government has firmly closed the door to frontline social care workers from overseas. In a sector where around 8 per cent of posts are already vacant, recruiting and retaining domestic staff is now more important than ever.
‘By shutting out overseas staff, the government has increased the pressure on itself to urgently develop and fund reforms that make the care sector a better-paid and more attractive place to develop a career. This will require an unprecedented pace and scale of investment, and even then workforce shortages are likely to get worse before they get better as new immigration rules will come into force before reforms can realistically be implemented.’