The government has refused to allow social care workers from EU countries to get a fast track health visa when new immigration rules are introduced. This is ungracious and short-sighted. It should be stopped.
For 10 weeks during the Covid crisis, the government made great play every Thursday that they were ‘clapping for carers.’
Even then, of course it was clear that they considered there to be different grades of carers. The dismissive way that they treated the safety of community social care workers and those working in care homes, a large proportion of whom come from overseas, put them firmly in the government’s lower grade.
They have continued to show their disdain and, despite their herculean efforts to look after our most vulnerable, the government has again kicked them in the teeth.
When the rules for the new immigration system were outlined by Priti Patel in mid-July, a fast track health and care visa was made available to help the NHS fill roles. But, against all logic and requests from those trying to manage the services, they decided that social care staff and care home workers would not be eligible.
In short, the government now considers they are low skilled workers!
Seemingly oblivious to the fact that care homes were unable to find enough British staff, the government said it wants employers to “invest more in training and development for care workers in this country” instead.
One of our local MPs Layla Moran asked: “How can Boris Johnson clap for carers one day then refuse to give them a visa the next. It is disgraceful that those risking their lives each day helping vulnerable people during this pandemic are being told they’re not skilled enough to qualify for a visa.”
Many of those who care for our elderly are from EU countries. We stand with them. Let us make it clear that the government doesn’t represent us by categorising them as second-class carers.
If you agree with Layla, why not let her know. However, if you are represented by a Conservative MP, now is the time to tell them that this policy is both insulting to the staff and harmful to those they care for.
It’s always best to use your own words, but we have included a suggested wording and the contact details for the MPs in question in the section below.
Like me, I expect you took part in a clapping for carers event during the lockdown. I am sure that we can both agree that their work, whether in a hospital, the community or a care home was quite exceptional.
Many of these workers were from overseas, including EU countries, and are therefore impacted by the government’s new restrictive immigration policy. Whilst the Home Secretary has correctly allowed a fast-track health and care visa, she has specifically excluded social care workers on the grounds (apparently) that they are low-skilled workers.
I am sure you will agree with me that this is certainly not the case.
Also, the government’s suggestion that the industry should “invest more in training and development for care workers in this country”, seems to ignore the fact that for many years care companies have been unable to source sufficient staff locally.
As my MP, I am hoping that you will take this matter up with the Home Secretary and impress upon her the importance of extending the fast track visa to all care workers.
When we clapped for carers, we clapped for them all – not just the British ones. Now is the time to recognise that they are skilled and they are needed.
Contact email addresses:
Witney – firstname.lastname@example.org
Henley – email@example.com
Wantage – firstname.lastname@example.org
Banbury – email@example.com