Senior Care Workers and Registered Managers added to Shortage Occupation List

The Government has U-turned on its position for foreign workers in key health and social care roles, adding Senior Care Workers and Registered Managers to the Shortage Occupation List as part of its points-based immigration system.

10/03/21

Senior Care Workers and Registered Managers added to Shortage Occupation List

Senior Care Workers, Registered Managers and Nursing Assistants are among roles that have been added to the Shortage Occupation List, which gives people in these roles an advantage in obtaining a skilled worker visa.

The Government says the move ensures that businesses and public services across the UK can get access to the “best and brightest talent” from across the world.

Care sector leaders welcomed the change but warned that all social care workers, not just senior social care workers, should be added to the list.

The Shortage Occupation List is part of the points-based immigration system, which came into force in January 2021, whereby people applying to come to the UK through the skilled worker route must reach 70 ‘points’ to be eligible for a work visa.

A job on the Shortage Occupation List is worth 20 points which – combined with the mandatory criteria of having an acceptable standard of English, an offer from a licensed sponsor and the required skill level, worth 50 points – will ensure people in these roles reach the 70 points necessary to migrate to the UK.

The changes follow a review published by the independent Migration Advisory Committee last year.

While the Government has accepted some of the MAC’s recommendations, it says it is not “making wider changes to the list while the long-term economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still uncertain”.

“Every year we welcome healthcare workers from across the world to our United Kingdom, with many having played a key role on the frontline of the NHS during the recent pandemic,” Minister for Future Borders and Immigration Kevin Foster said, adding: “this latest set of changes, combined with our Health and Care Visa, will ensure they can easily get the immigration status they deserve.”

However, social care sector leaders say they have “long called for” senior care workers among other key roles to be added to the Shortage Occupation List, but were rebuffed by the Home Secretary.

Initially, Home Secretary Priti Patel refused to add the role of Senior Care Workers to the Shortage Occupation List, but was faced with widespread criticism from the sector. This prompted calls from the sector to challenge the decision legally.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said he was pleased that the Government has acknowledged the challenges of recruiting to these social care roles.

“We hope that this is the start of a process towards the creation of a migration system which supports rather than undermines the development of the adult social care workforce.”

Kashif Majeed, Director at Aston Brooke Solicitors, who worked with Care England to ensure that the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations are adopted by the Government, said the regulations in place before the announcement were “unsustainable”.

“The addition of the senior carer position to the shortage occupation list means care providers are now able to recruit suitable candidates outside of the UK on a minimum annual salary of £20,480.

“Prior to this announcement, the minimum annual salary payable for this role would be £25,600, which was unsustainable in the sector.”

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