EEA migration in the UK: Final report

September 19, 2018

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its final
report into European Economic Area (EEA) migration in the UK in terms
of current and potential patterns of EEA migration and the impact of
these patterns.

The report highlights possible issues that changes to EEA migration
may cause in the social care sector, commenting on the difficulties the
sector is already facing in securing its workforce, and suggesting that
the Tier 2 cap is removed.

It says, ‘Social care is a sector that struggles to recruit and
retain workers which is a cause for concern as demand is rising
inexorably…We are concerned that special immigration schemes for
social care will struggle to retain enough migrants in the sector if
work in it is not made more attractive.’

Later, the report states, ‘The combination of rising demand, downward
pressure on public spending leading to relatively low wages making many
jobs relatively unattractive to resident workers and the absence of a
non-EEA work-related route for the lower-skilled roles in the sector
mean that this is a sector that could face even more serious problems if
EEA migration was restricted.’

The report into EEA migration also notes that, ‘Migrants,
particularly non-EEA but increasingly those from the EU,
contribute significantly to the social care workforce…The sector’s
problems are not primarily migration-related. A sustainable funding
model, paying competitive wages to UK residents, would alleviate many of
the recruitment and retention issues.’

Responding to the MAC’s report on the impact of EEA migration in the
UK, Danny Mortimer, co-convenor of the Cavendish Coalition, said, ‘We
strongly support many of the policy recommendations made by this timely
report, and are pleased the MAC has highlighted the social care funding
crisis.

‘A key priority should be options for social care employers to hire
social care workers. Currently, without an adequate provision for social
care, people who should be cared for in or near their homes are left
with no option but to attend A&E in already over-stretched
hospitals.

‘It would be completely unacceptable to allow vital social care
services to close under the strain of not having the people required to
provide good care, and so we welcome the recognition that sustainable
funding would drive improved pay and conditions – and make this sector a
much more attractive place to work.

‘A youth mobility scheme will simply not be sufficient for a sector
employing over 1.5 million people in England, of which 175,000 care
workers are from abroad.

‘Of further concern is that the report does not advocate less-skilled workers schemes for any other sectors except agriculture.

‘We have consistently flagged concerns about extending the Tier 2
system to EEA nationals, so while we welcome the MAC’s recommendation
the Tier 2 cap be abolished, without reforming the system beyond this,
the NHS and social care will struggle to recruit the staff they need.’

Chair of the Independent Care Group, Mike Padgham says, ‘At the end
of the day, we have a shortage of care staff in this country and we have
to resolve that. The sector relies upon overseas workers, especially
those coming to work from other EU countries. We know there is a huge
explosion in the number of people needing care ahead of us and it is
hard to see how we would operate if the number of carers from overseas
was reduced.

‘At the same time, the harsh reality facing care providers is not how
are we going to manage in 20 years’ time but how we are going to staff
our shifts tonight, tomorrow and next week.

‘This is easy to resolve: start to recognise social care workers as
skilled – which they are – and accept that we need to recruit more from
overseas.’

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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