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Impact of Brexit on Recruitment

May 01, 2019

With Brexit negotiations at a standstill, and the threat of a �no-deal� Brexit still hanging in the air, the future of several of Britain�s major industries remains undecided. Included in these is the UK�s care sector, which looks to be directly threatened by proposed post-Brexit immigration policies. National Shortage Care and social workers provide a fundamental service within British society; working tirelessly to care for the sick, vulnerable and elderly. However, according to the Institute for Public Policy (IPPR) thinktank, UK-based care workers are �exploited [and work] excessive hours�; with many on zero-hour or insecure job contracts. What�s more, several years of austerity cuts and �chronic underfunding� to public spending has meant that Britain�s care workers have not received adequate pay for their roles. The IPPR suggest that care workers must be paid the national living wage, which is �10.55 per hour in London and �9 per hour in the rest of the UK. According to figures released by the Care Workers Charity, care workers only receive an hourly rate of �7.76. When this is combined with the increasingly long hours and unstable contracts offered to staff, it is no surprise that care workers are being driven away from the sector. Between 2015 and 2016, 900 care workers left their posts. This number is only increasing, leading to huge labour gaps within the workforce which the NHS has described as a �national emergency�. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the 1.34m adult social care workforce has a vacancy shortage of 90,000 staff members; a rate which is three times higher than the national labour market average. This, coupled with the fact that the number of elderly people requiring 24-hour care is expected to double in the next decade, is causing severe concern about the future of the care industry. Immigration health surcharge In an attempt to combat the holes in the NHS budget, the Home Office recently announced that they would be increasing the immigration health surcharge this year. This is a fee required by all migrants who apply for entry into the UK to ensure that they can receive the same NHS treatments as British nationals. For many migrants, the charge is set to increase from �200 to �400, however, for those on a five-year UK Skilled Worker Visa the surcharge will increase from �1,000 to �2,000. Impact of Brexit The Government�s latest immigration white paper revealed that EU citizens will no longer receive any �preferential� treatment after Britain leaves the bloc. This means that they will need to meet the same visa requirements as those from outside the EEA must currently do. This will mean that EU care professionals will need to apply for a Skilled Worker Visa (ranging in cost from �610 to �1,408) also known as a Tier 2 Visa in order to take on work in the UK. Unlike doctors and nurses, care workers are not listed on the UK Shortage Occupation List, meaning they do not qualify for visa fee reductions or discounts. This also means that all overseas Work Visa applications from care workers will still be subject to the Tier 2 Visa cap. This cap means that all Tier 2 applicants (apart from those on the Shortage Occupation List) must compete against each other when making their visa applications. Taking into account the current labour deficit in the care sector, this is far from ideal. As such, many EU carers are more likely to opt for care roles in EU member states, where there are no visa regulations or fees and wages and working conditions are significantly better. According to current proposals, skilled migrants would have to earn at least �30,000 annually before they are allowed into the UK on five-year visas, which is much higher than a care worker's salary. The Government has said it will introduce a short term scheme enabling low skilled workers from certain countries to work in the UK for up to a year, however they would not be able to extend their stay, or change to other visa categories in the UK. There have been reports of a �mass exodus� of UK-based EU nationals since the referendum result, with many employers expressing concern. According to Skills for Care, 104,000 of the care sector�s workforce comes from the EU, and a further 130,000 from further overseas. As an industry which so heavily relies on foreign talent, Brexit poses a direct threat to the already-suffering workforce. It has been predicted that the care sector could be short by 380,000 workers by 2026 if the proposed immigration restrictions go ahead as planned. IPPR have suggested that, to combat this possibility, social workers and care workers should be added to the Shortage Occupation List. This would allow them to be exempt from the visa cap and potentially receive discounted application fees. However, this may not be enough. Without fair pay and changes to the structure of the employment systems in the sector, rota gaps, staff shortages and patient care risk being impacted even further after Brexit-day.bset skeleton watches

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