Government commissions review into impact of Brexit on adult social care workforce

Government advisers are to investigate the effect ending freedom of movement after Brexit is having on the social care sector and its workers.

Home Office minister Kevin Foster wrote to Professor Brian Bell, chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) which briefs the Government on immigration, to commission an independent review to be carried out by the end of April 2022.

It comes after campaigners last year accused the Government of excluding care workers from its new immigration system and ignoring the role they have played during the coronavirus pandemic.

In the past, the MAC has also called for carers to be paid more to avoid pressure being piled on the social care sector after the end of freedom of movement.

The job needed to be made more attractive to British workers so employers did not rely on migrant workers to fill vacancies, it said.

In the letter, Mr Foster said: “I write to you today to commission the MAC to undertake an independent review of adult social care, and the impact the ending freedom of movement has had on the sector.”

He asked for the review to look at the impact on: the adult social care workforce (such as skills shortages) covering roles including care workers, registered nurses and managers; visa options for social care workers; as well as the “long-term consequences for workforce recruitment, training and employee terms and conditions”.

“I ask you to consider the above points and provide recommendations on how to address the issues which the sector is experiencing with the immigration system and to highlight, where they arise within the scope of the review, wider issues for the Government’s consideration, such as employee terms and conditions,” he said, adding that the Government would consider the recommendations and determine the “appropriate course of action”.

Critics previously hit out at the lack of visa options for foreign care workers in the UK’s points-based system introduced after Brexit as the Government confirmed it would deny applications from low-skilled workers if they could not meet the criteria.

The decision prompted fears that NHS cleaners and porters, among other workers, could also be impacted by the changes.

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