Nursing aides recommended for shortage occupations list

Social workers should be added to the list of shortage occupations, which would improve the sector’s ability to fill staffing gaps and access workers from abroad, the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended.

In its annual report for 2021, the government’s independent adviser on immigration issues says social worker jobs should “immediately” be made eligible for the health and care visa and placed on the shortage occupations list due to of the “serious and growing difficulties facing the sector”. facing both in terms of recruitment and retention”.

The report said: “In recent months, the government has accepted some temporary visas for various professions such as truck drivers, poultry workers and butchers.

“MAC believes there is a balance to be struck between maintaining the general principles of the new skilled worker route and not being completely inflexible in the face of challenges that can have significant consequences for the economy – some of which are the result of the pandemic.

The government has faced repeated calls to help improve the care sector’s recruitment capacity, particularly after introducing a requirement for anyone working in a care home to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

It is believed that around 50,000 nursing home staff were not allowed to continue in their roles when the vaccination mandate came into force on November 11.

The shortage occupations list details jobs that are subject to more favorable immigration requirements, including a lower salary threshold of £20,480, or 80% of the going rate, whichever is higher. This allows employers to access a wider pool of talent.

The MAC recommends which professions should be added to the list, but ministers have the final say.

Fifty-four percent of visa applications in the first nine months of 2021 were for jobs on the shortage occupations list, according to the report. This is an increase from 2020 (43%) and 2019 (17%).

“This figure may suggest a significant effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, as SOL visa applications increased significantly before the new immigration system was put in place,” the report said.

“With travel restrictions in place and significant uncertainty in the economy, some employers may have chosen to suspend overseas recruitment, while those recruiting for occupations on the SOL may have continued as they are in” shortage “.

“It could also reflect the longer list of professions now listed on the SOL. It will be interesting to watch this trend to see if it continues in the coming years, to determine if it is an effect of the pandemic or not, given the increase in health professions seen.

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Michael A. Bynum