A government-commissioned report on the state of the adult social care workforce in England has called for a higher minimum wage and further action to ease immigration requirements for workers coming from abroad.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report – Adult social care and immigration – urges the government to invest an additional £2.1 billion annually to raise the minimum wage to £10.50. But the committee signalled that this was just the start, as social care’s workforce shortage – now believed to be running at 10% of the total workforce needed – had followed “years of policy decisions not to fund the social care system properly.”
MAC says that health and social care worker visas available for foreign workers had resulted in 9,000 social care staff arriving by this route up to February. But it recommended a further easing by making worker visas permanently available and removing charges for employers.
Colin Angel, policy director of the UK Home Care Association, said recruitment and retention had become more challenging in recent months. “Even if the government delivers on its commitment to reform the care system, changes to migration policy are needed urgently to ensure that we have sufficient committed and skilled care workers,” he said.