Government condemned on care workers shortage

ADASS has condemned the Government’s recent immigration proposals. 23 October 2008. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) made an appeal on 6 October for ministers to consult “more widely, more thoroughly and more convincingly” before finalising their “shorter occupation list” later this month.

The new rules will make it difficult for families to find a care worker to help with a member who has a long-term illness or disability.

The Association claims that the recommendation of the Migrant Advisory Committee (MAC) on which the Government is proposing to act could “seriously harm our ability to recruit desperately-needed care staff and consequently damage our ability to care properly for large numbers of vulnerable people in care homes and elsewhere”.

Proposals from MAC — which, according to ADASS, are “based on insufficient understanding of the social care labour market” — mean that, from later this year, employers will no longer be able to fill permanent posts with people from outside the European Union unless they are on the Committee’s shortage occupation list.

Half of care staff in London alone are non-EU citizens, and ADASS alleges that if care workers are not added to the list there will be “damaging and far-reaching consequences”.

Jo Cleary, co-chair of the ADASS Workforce Development Network, said:
“MAC’s decision not to specify social care staff in its recommended shortage occupation list threatens to seriously undermine our capacity to carry out our core and fundamental duty of care to many thousand of elderly and disabled people. Currently, for example, one in two care staff in London are non-EU citizens.

“The Home Office has not adequately consulted with local government; it hasn’t properly sought our views, and is at risk of taking some decisions, based on insufficient understanding of the social care labour market, which could have damaging and far-reaching consequences. If matters aren’t remedied, not even the Archers will be able to find suitable carers for ageing members of their families.”

She went on fully to endorse the remarks of Darra Singh, chief executive of the London Borough of Ealing, who wrote recently: “We need a coherent policy that understands the relationships between skills shortages, housing, immigration and regeneration if our country is to prosper both economically and socially.”

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