Shaping the UK’s Post-Brexit Work Immigration System – what our members said
The team here at the National Care Forum would like to thank all our members who submitted evidence through our survey, a summary of which is below. We have now presented your views to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as part of their consultation on potential future salary thresholds and an ‘Australian-style’ points-based system post-Brexit for workers from overseas. The MAC is now analysing the feedback we and other organisations have provided. We will let you know as soon as the committee has published its findings.
The MAC has already acknowledged the recruitment and retention issues faced by the social care sector and we would expect these to be fully considered in its response to the Home Office. Indeed, as Skills for Care’s most recent data shows, there are currently 122,000 vacancies and a turnover of 30.8% in the sector in England. It is therefore critical, now more than ever, that the social care sector has its voice heard by our politicians in light of these workforce pressures. As the General Election campaign gets into full swing, and different parties make big spending promises on a whole range of areas, we have an opportunity to make the voice of the social care sector heard. Indeed, we’re currently hearing quite a lot of promises about the NHS’s workforce and a post-Brexit ‘NHS Visa’ but very little about an adult social care counterpart. Social care needs to be treated in parity to the NHS.
As your evidence shows, the sector expects social care providers to have the option of recruiting care workers from overseas using salary thresholds that align with the national minimum wage. Any special treatment given to the NHS needs to be applied to Health and Social Care if a crisis is to be avoided.
The National Care Forum is calling on all our members to make some noise over the next few weeks about recruitment and retention pressures in the sector and concerns surrounding post-Brexit immigration system arrangements. There are many ways you can do this, including attending local hustings or inviting politicians into your homes to get to know your services. Make yourselves impossible to ignore in this campaign and let us know what you are doing!
What you told us:
Salary Thresholds for overseas workers
– The majority of respondents strongly agreed that there should not be a minimum salary threshold above the legal requirement.
– If introduced, many respondents felt that salary thresholds needed to be responsive to reflect employer needs.
– Respondents strongly agreed that a minimum salary requirement for an experienced full-time employee of £30,000 was too high to be financially viable and raised issues about differentials in pay grades.
– The majority of respondents felt that jobs judged to be in shortage should have lower salary thresholds compared to those not in shortage.
Tier 2 (General) Visa
– The majority of respondents have recruited workers from EEA countries (outside the UK/Ireland) or from non-EEA countries over the last five years.
– The majority of respondents plan to continue to recruit workers from both EEA countries (outside the UK/Ireland) or from non-EEA countries over the next 12 months.
– The majority of respondents do not know if their Tier 2 (General) visa workers are eligible for, or have applied for, settlement status.
A large number of respondents reported issues in attempting to use the Tier 2 (General) Visa system both in relation to salary requirements and more generally. Some of this is down to knowledge of the system but it is more often down to pay.
While all respondents pay the National Living Wage, and in many cases pay higher than the NLW, these salary rates do not meet the threshold for Tier 2 (General) Visas. This is also the case for respondents paying the Real Living Wage. Other issues reported include quota restrictions and the complexity of the Tier 2 (General) Visa system making it difficult to use in practice.
‘Australian’ Points-Based System
Respondents were very clear that their top four most important characteristics in awarding points within such a system were:
1. Priority Occupation
2. Work Experience
3. Language Proficiency
4. Having a job Offer
Respondents said that the age of the worker was the least important characteristic.
Considering the scale of such a system and the changes it would bring, the National Care Forum expressed surprise to the MAC that there was only one question in their consultation on this topic. We have asked the MAC for further opportunities to input into the work of the commission on exploring the potential of a UK version of a points-based immigration system.