Statement On Post-Brexit Immigration PolicyStatement On Post-Brexit Immigration Policy
11 September 2020
“In a few months, older and vulnerable people might be unable to source or afford the vital care they so desperately need”, warns the UK’s leading live-in care provider.
The shortage of Care Workers from the EU countries, caused by the new immigration policy, will lead to a significant increase in the cost of care services, bringing into jeopardy the future of care providers and people who rely on migrant Care Workers. Consequently, vulnerable people will end up without the care they need, putting even more pressure on the NHS and public finances.
From the beginning of 2021, under the new post-Brexit immigration policy, EU Care Workers seeking employment in the UK would need to meet the annual salary threshold of £25,600, as well as having an A-level education or equivalent.
“The recent Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) shows that the average salary of a Care Worker in 2019 was £15,348, approximately £10k less than that required under the new immigration policy” commented Paula Beaney, Quality Assurance Director at Promedica24. She continued by saying “two-thirds of EU migrants currently working in our health and social care sector would not be eligible for a visa under the Government’s plan, and there are also 40,000 nursing vacancies; a shortage that will only be exacerbated by the Government’s proposals”.
Despite this, the Government has decided to exclude Care Workers from the list of professions with easier access to the UK job market. Contrastingly, seasonal workers from EU countries, under certain restrictions, will still be allowed to take on temporary employment.
“It is hard to understand the Government’s motives and why it remains so adamant on its immigration policies for the care sector, whilst showing flexibility and protection towards the agriculture industry. In less than six months, older and vulnerable people may be unable to source or afford vital care services and ultimately, will be left alienated and without the support they desperately need”, said Paula Beaney.
“Caring is a vocational occupation with many employees gaining qualifications in work. Some of them might not meet the A-Level standard, despite having extensive care experience and specialised training. The introduction of the educational requirement will, therefore, limit a further number of Care Workers available to provide care to those who need it the most”, added Paula Beaney.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for skilled Care Workers has been brought to everyone’s attention more than ever. Care workers, a significant proportion of whom come from the EU countries, have risked their lives throughout the pandemic to keep older and vulnerable people safe. The nation has shown its admiration by hailing them as heroes and participating in social actions such as ‘clap for Care Workers’. Even the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was treated for Covid-19 by foreign care staff, has recognised the role EU workers play in the care economy asking them to ‘come back’ to the UK to help fight the virus.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) predicts that by 2030, one in five people in the UK (21.8%) will be 65 years or over, and 4.5 million will be over 85 years of age. This will create an even greater demand for high-quality care that will not be met without sourcing new Care Workers from the EU countries to join the UK workforce.
Knowing the staggering statistics and the impact the new Immigration Bill would have on the most vulnerable, in July, Promedica24 sent letters to MPs on both sides of the political spectrum to share their concerns and evidence.
“We have received a huge number of supportive responses from MPs who, like us, are worrying about the impact of new immigration policies on their local communities and those in the most vulnerable groups. This includes older people; in particular, those who live with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other long-term debilitating conditions. As expected, many of those comments came from the members of the opposition” explained Paula Beaney.
Unfortunately, the view of both the Government and the MPs who support these immigration policies remain unchanged. The majority of them avoided commenting on the fact that the restriction to freedom of movement would unavoidably lead to an even more drastic shortage of Care Workers, resulting in a significant increase in prices for end-users.
“We believe this type of attitude will have a detrimental effect, especially on those in the older and most vulnerable groups, who will not only suffer from a decrease in purchasing power due to the recession, but will also be impacted by the rise in the price of care,” commented Paula Beaney.
She went on to say “Promedica24 calls for the Government to evaluate their plans regarding the new immigration restrictions for European Care Workers. The current policy is fundamentally flawed, and it requires urgent review.”
Promedica24 urges the media to bring this topic to public attention and start a conversation about the care needs of older and vulnerable groups. Over the years and despite the freedom of movement, the UK has been experiencing a significant shortage of Care Workers available to provide support to those in need. If the current version of the Immigration Bill is to be implemented from the beginning of 2021, it will create enormous pressure on the already strained health and social care system, sacrificing the wellbeing of those most vulnerable.
Selected MPs statements in response to Promedica24’s letter:
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton (Green Party):
‘I am incredibly proud of the way in which immigration has enriched our communities and when a previous iteration of the Immigration Bill was being debated, I tabled what’s known as a reasoned amendment to oppose the entire legislation. I have consistently made the case for an immigration policy that will not impact negatively on essential services like social care.’
in March I sponsored this Early Day Motion and have also held the Government to account through written Parliamentary questions on immigration routes for health and social Care Workers, and the impact of the proposed £25,600 salary threshold on the sector.
‘Frustratingly, the Home Office took four months to respond to my question and their reply provides little reassurance. It is frankly insulting that, despite the Government’s proclaimed appreciation of Care Workers during the coronavirus pandemic, they have continued to class these hugely dedicated professionals as “unskilled”. Finally, when the Immigration Bill recently had what’s known as report stage in Parliament, I supported a number of amendments on the health and social care sector, although sadly none of these were incorporated into the Bill. I hope that this important issue will continue to be raised as it passes through the House of Lords.’
Catherine West, MP for Hornsey & Wood Green (Labour):
‘The Government’s callous points-based system runs the risk of the UK being starved of the skilled individuals we need to staff our health and social care settings, and I can assure you I will continue working with my colleagues in Parliament to oppose it’
The Right Hon Jake Berry MP for Rossendale & Darwen who voted for the Immigration Bill (Conservative):
‘When people voted to leave the EU, they did so in the knowledge that the free movement system imposed by the EU would end. I welcome the Government’s commitment to build a fairer single, global immigration system which considers people based on their skills, rather than nationality. I have always believed that the new points-based system is more than simply controlling immigration.’
‘This process is also about the creation of a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy. This ambition explains why the Government will not be introducing a general low skilled or temporary work route. I welcome this approach as the UK needs to move away from relying on cheap labour from Europe and focus instead on investment in technology and automation.’
‘Over recent weeks we have all seen our NHS and social care services serve the people of our country with distinction and dedication. I can assure you that our new points-based immigration system will not just allow but actively welcome a range of health professionals to the United Kingdom. I welcome the fact that the framework for future immigration will provide the flexibility to adapt to changing times and the Government will ensure the health and care service is supported.’
Nigel Evans MP for the Ribble Valley, Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons (Conservative):
‘As you mentioned in your email, Care Workers have done an excellent job during the pandemic in caring for the vulnerable and many are EU nationals. You are correct to highlight how many of these EU nationals may be unable to meet the A-Level standard, despite having extensive care experience and specialised training. As noted in your email, this would greatly impact care providers and by extension, the people who rely on this care. As such, I have written to the Secretary of State for the Home Department, the Rt Hon Lady Priti Patel, to raise the issue at hand and to comment on the matter.’
Promedica24 is Europe’s leading provider of live-in care services with operations in Germany and England. By providing highly trained, live-in Care Workers, the company enables older and vulnerable people to receive person-centred, one-to-one support and companionship on a 24/7 basis in the comfort of their own homes. Although there is less public awareness around live-in care, it constitutes a much safer alternative to residential care during the time of a pandemic.
Promedica24 recruits mostly from Poland, thoroughly vetting its employees to ensure they can communicate proficiently in English and have the necessary attitude, experience and knowledge in the caring profession. Thanks to a high number of dedicated Care Workers, the company is able to provide affordable services at very short notice, even in rural areas. Currently, Promedica24’s weekly care packages range from £695 to £920 whilst the average, the weekly cost of basic residential care exceeds £1000.