Care system faces “irreparable damage” from new immigration rules

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Scottish Care hits out over UK Government’s new points-based system. 

19th February 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Reforms to UK immigration rules will cause “irreparable damage” to Scotland’s care sector, it has been claimed.

The new system, announced today, will make it significantly harder for workers classed as “low-skilled” to get jobs in the UK.

Anyone wishing to come to the country to work must have a job offer with a salary of at least £25,600, although some exceptions will be made for roles facing a skill shortage, such as nursing.

Home secretary Priti Patel said the points-based system would “reduce the levels of people coming to the UK with low skills” as employers were told they will “need to adjust” to the new rules.

But the plans have been branded a potential disaster for sectors which employ large numbers of supposedly “low-skilled” workers, such as care.

Scottish Care, which represents more than 400 care organisations around the country, said the sector is dependent on the “tremendous skills and contribution” of migrant workers and the new proposals do little to address their “significant concerns”.

Dr Donald Macaskill, Scottish Care CEO, said: ““Yet again we have a set of proposals which treat the critical role of frontline care as unskilled. This is offensive and these proposals are damaging. To presume anyone can simply do the job of compassionate and dignified care is deluded.

“The salary thresholds, the language and qualification requirements are wholly unrealistic and simply don’t speak to the reality of social care.

“These proposals have been developed by those who have failed to listen to the concerns of employers. They are likely to result in significant damage to the care sector in Scotland unless they are changed.

“Instead of a progressive immigration policy which is aimed at enhancing the economic s and social well-being of our country we have presented here a system which will do irreparable damage and will impact on the lives of thousands of ordinary Scots who will see the loss and diminution of critical care services.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who has called for a separate visa system for Scotland, said the UK Government’s plans would be “devastating” for the Scottish economy.

She tweeted: “Tory immigration policy is offensive in principle – it labels vital workers making a big contribution as ‘low skilled’ and slams the door in their faces.”

Other sectors likely to suffer major impact from the new system include construction, hospitality and the food and drinks industries, the CBI has warned.