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01 March 2022

Government relaxes immigration rules for care worker jobs

Immigration rules for care workers have been relaxed because of staffing shortages in the sector. More than 105,000 care jobs are currently going unfilled — equivalent to about one in 12 positions in the workforce. Vacancy rates spiralled when No 10's "no jab, no job" mandate kicked in last November.

In hope of fixing the problem, ministers have said they will "fast-track" visa applications from people looking to work in the sector. Those applying will also be given the option to come to the UK with their partner and children, and later considered for settled status.

They will only need to earn £20,480 a year, compared to the threshold of £25,600 beforehand.

Home Secretary Priti Patel argued the relaxation — in place for at least 12 months — would help to "bolster the workforce" and alleviate current pressures.

Care leaders welcomed the move, saying that it would help bring more staff to the sector to help plug gaps. But they said it did not go far enough to deliver the change "everyone would like to see", and that homes were already facing delays with applications for the visas.

The care sector has always relied on foreign workers to help plug the staffing gap, with about 16 per cent of staff currently from overseas (7 per cent EU nationals, and 9 per cent non-EU).

More than 40,000 workers were lost last November when the Government made it a requirement for all staff to be double-jabbed. Although this rule is now set to be relaxed as in the NHS — where it was set to come in this April — care bosses say the damage has already been done.

Care workers were added to the shortage occupations list on Christmas Eve — which includes professions where the UK has too few staff. The Migration Advisory Committee — which manages the list — said at the time that visa rules should be relaxed "immediately" to help with "severe and increasing difficulties" in the workforce.

Ms Patel said: "The changes we’ve made to the health and care visa will bolster the workforce and help alleviate some of the pressures currently being experienced."

Geraldine Smith, CEO of Coate Water Care, says: "Our foreign staff have always played a positive role in caring for our residents and any measures that make it easier for us to recruit skilled carers have to be welcomed. We currently have vacancies at several of our residential care homes and would love to hear from anybody with the experience and qualifications to help us continue delivering first-rate service."

Coate Water Care is looking to sponsor further senior health care workers and qualified nurses, both those who are based overseas or those who are already in the UK wishing to change employers. Please apply at or for more information call 01793 821200.


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