Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today called on Government to give greater attention to boosting employment across the adult social care sector, in light of the Migration Statistics published by the Home Office today.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“The statistics published today by the Home Office show us that net migration increased to 606,000 in the year ending March 2023. Despite increases in net migration, the adult social care sector continues to grapple with 165,000 vacancies, in addition to the 130,000 in the NHS. It is clear from this that the Government’s immigration policy is failing to address workforce challenges across our vital public services. The adult social care sector has long been characterised by years of chronic underfunding and the lack of a long-term workforce plan aimed at addressing recruitment, retention, pay and conditions. With one in ten posts remaining vacant, the Government’s priority should be raising the bar for all workers and empowering providers to recruit the staff they need, regardless of origin. International recruits have always made an invaluable contribution to our sector and are crucial to its sustainability going forward.”
The Immigration System Statistics Report has revealed that in the year ending March 2023, there were 299,891 grants to main applicants on work visas, largely due to increases in the ‘Skilled Worker’ visas. Further, ‘Skilled Worker – Health and Care’ visa grants to main applicants have risen 171%, in part due to the expansion for ‘Care Workers and Home Carers’ and ‘Senior Care Workers’. Despite this, Care England and Hft’s Sector Pulse Check 2022 report, published in March 2023, found care providers reporting an average vacancy rate of 21% in 2022, suggesting a worsening of workforce pressures.
Martin Green continues:
“With more than one in three care staff leaving their role each year, the current workforce situation is wholly unsustainable. Whilst increases in net migration may help to fill vacancies within the sector, ultimately, the workforce crisis will never be truly addressed until the Government provides the sector with the funding it needs to adequately reward the workforce with the pay and recognition they deserve. Care England has long called for a care wage that sits above the NLW and supports the Trade Union Congress’ call to implement a £15 minimum wage for individuals in care worker roles, fully funded by central Government and ringfenced for this purpose. This would not only improve the workforce crisis in adult social care, but give the English economy a much needed multi-billion pound boost.”