Care Homes ‘Hit By Migrant Rules’

Care homes `hit by migrant rules'

The Press Association
November 11, 2008

Elderly people in care homes will suffer as a result of changes to new immigration rules, bosses have warned.

Homes are likely to close and fees rise because of employment restrictions on workers from outside Europe, they said.

Martin Green, chief executive of the English Community Care Association, said his “worst fears” about the list of jobs available to non-European Economic Area workers had been confirmed.

Only the most highly skilled care workers earning more than 8.80 an hour are included on the shortage occupation list.

He warned the industry needed workers from places like India and the Philippines because similar skills were not available in Europe.

“We're going to get closures because local authorities won't pay more,” he said.

“At the end of the day vulnerable people will suffer.”

Heather Wakefield, national officer at Unison, warned social care would “collapse” without migrant workers and said the ageing population meant the situation was likely to get worse.

Ministers touted the new list as a toughening of the rules. Immigration minister Phil Woolas said there were 200,000 fewer posts available via the shortage occupation route.

But the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which drafted the list after examining labour market shortages, has said only 7% of the jobs were actually taken by non-European Economic Area workers last year.