Following recommendations from migration experts, care assistants and other care jobs have been made eligible for the Health and Care Visa and placed on the Shortage Occupation List.

What does this mean?

Placing care workers on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) enables employers to sponsor care workers subject to a minimum salary of £20,480 per year – equivalent to £10.10 per hour for a full time worker.

The Migration Advisory Committee believes this move will alleviate recruitment difficulties, in the short term. In their 2021 annual report, they identified a significant decline in the ability of firms to recruit and retain care workers due to Brexit and the “substantial public benefit that the care sector provides, over and above the economic benefit”.

The report also called on government to consider additional ways of making the immigration system more accessible for adult social care providers. This could include using the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund to reduce financial cost of recruitment through the immigration system.

Recent survey findings
  • A recent survey of Care England’s members showed that most members (96%) reported that a workforce shortage was their primary concern this winter.
  • Skills for Care estimated a care worker vacancy rate of 11.2% in October 2021.
  • The share of non-UK born care workers in the workforce has increased over time, rising to 24% in 2020.
  • Over 50% of EEA care workers came to the UK for employment, the ending of free movement and absence of a work route for care workers is likely to contribute to recruitment problems in the sector.

Read the letter from the Minister for Safe and Legal Migration here outlining the changes.