Short-term visa not hindering overseas workers, MPs told

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid

The one-year visa restriction for overseas social care workers is not preventing people from abroad applying for roles in the UK, a group of MPs have been told.

During an evidence session to a committee hearing this week, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid was asked if the one-year scheme was a major factor for people not wanting to uproot and come to the UK and settle down.

‘In adult social care there’s an acute problem; we do absolutely need more workforce,’ Javid replied. ‘But I am not convinced at this stage that the one-year limit is an issue that’s stopping people from abroad from applying to come work in the UK as an adult social care worker.’

He said the salary of £20,400 per annum, which works out as £10.10 per hour based on a 39-hr working week, was also at the ‘right level’ though it was important to keep things under review.

In February the UK government added care sector workers to the shortage occupation list in a bid to drive up recruitment. The scheme will run for a period of 12 months initially, after which the Home Office will reassess the situation and decide whether to extend it. Latest Skills for Care figures showed the vacancy rate across the sector was 10.3%.

During his evidence to the health and social care committee’s inquiry into workforce recruiting, training and retention, Javid said additional resources were going into the sector, including £500m on training, funded through the new levy. However, he admitted workforce in sector was ‘hugely challenging’.