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UK Government urged to relax immigration rules for care workers

Immigration rules on care worker jobs should be relaxed “immediately” to temper “severe and increasing difficulties” the sector is facing with recruitment and retention, Government advisers have said.

In its annual report, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which briefs the Government on immigration, advised that the jobs be made eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed on the shortage occupation list (SOL).

The SOL is designed to help migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages.

The recommendation has been sparked by preliminary findings from an independent review from the MAC on the effect ending freedom of movement after Brexit is having on the social care sector and its workers.

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.

The MAC’s annual report said: “We are currently in the middle of a commission investigating the impact of the ending of freedom of movement on the adult social care sector.

“We provide an update in this report on our preliminary findings and unusually are taking the opportunity to make a formal recommendation to the Government.

“Given the severe and increasing difficulties the sector is facing in terms of both recruitment and retention, we are recommending that care worker jobs immediately be made eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed on the shortage occupation list.”

The committee also advised the Government to “review the ban on employment for asylum seekers”.

“There is clear evidence of the harm that this causes, some of which we document in this report, and little evidence that we are aware of that it provides significant benefits,” the MAC said.

“The harm is exacerbated by the increasing numbers of asylum seekers who are having to wait over six months for an initial decision on their application.”

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