Scottish Care response to White Paper on Immigration
Scottish Care believes that many of the proposals in the current White Paper on Immigration are wholly inadequate in addressing the needs of the social care sector in Scotland.
Scottish Care published research in late December 2018 illustrating the considerable recruitment and retention challenges facing the care home sector.
It stated that:
- 8.1% of care home staff are from out-with the UK, including 5% from the EU. This means that the consequences of Brexit for the movement of people is likely to have a significant impact on the care home sector.
- Growing evidence of geographical variation with some providers with 30% EU staff in some parts of the country.
- 77% of services have staff vacancies, including 61% with carer vacancies. Services have staffing gaps across all roles, including a third with vacancies for senior care posts, a quarter with vacant domestic posts and nearly 20% with gaps in leadership and management roles.
- 41% of care homes have found recruitment of staff more difficult in 2018.
- Up to 44% of care homes rely on the EU as a recruitment pool for different categories of care staff.
Dr Donald Macaskill, the CEO of Scottish Care said ahead of giving evidence at the Scottish Affairs Committee:
“The social care sector in Scotland is significantly dependent upon the skills and talents of our migrant colleagues. Over the years they have enriched the care which lies at the heart of our care homes and home care services across Scotland. We are very concerned that the uncertainty around Brexit is creating turmoil in their lives and in the lives of already vulnerable individuals.
“The White Paper on Immigration does little to offer social care providers the sense of reassurance they require after Brexit. We estimate that under the new regime envisaged in the proposals that as many as 85% of the current migrant workforce would not be able to come to the country.
“We see the White Paper on immigration to be a huge missed opportunity. Scotland needs to continue to attract the best from across the world and the failure to identify social care as a priority sector is very disappointing. This is compounded by describing social care as ‘low-skilled’ which fails to acknowledge the sector as requiring high levels of skill and qualifications.
“Further, the salary requirements in the proposals fail to take account of the real world of social care in Scotland. The envisaged threshold of £30,000 is set at a rate which fails to acknowledge that the average salary in social care is £18,000.
“Scottish Care is calling for a flexible, realistic, person-centred model of immigration that looks at the needs of the receiving communities which in Scotland’s case shows that social care is urgently in need of migrant skills and abilities.”