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Crunch hits care homes as foreign workers go home | Immigration Matters

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The Sunday Mirror ( 18/01/2009) reports that care homes are struggling to survive as “tens of thousands of foreign workers quit recession-hit Britain”.

The article predicts the exodus could mean “soaring fees” for the elderly and leave homes facing the threat of closure.

Council leaders are set to warn in a report this week that care homes and the farming industry will be the hardest hit by the huge number of migrant workers, mostly from Eastern European countries such as Poland, heading home.

Both industries are heavily reliant on foreign labour from Work Permit holders, Working Holiday Makers (abolished under Tier 5 of the points System) and non-EU students.

Care home owners and trade organisation say the problem has been made worse by tightened immigration laws limiting the number of jobs open to workers from outside the EU.

Local Government Association chairman Margaret Eaton said:

“In the care system, migrant workers are the backbone of the workforce.”


The “news” will come as no surprise to readers of Immigration Matters, which has warned of labour shortages in the care sector for some time.

It has been widely reported that Poles and other EU workers are leaving the UK in droves due to a combination of the falling pound and credit crunch together with an upswing in their own economies.

Last year Jan Mokrzycki, president of the Federation of Poles in Great Britain, said:

“The economy in Poland has picked up and unemployment has dropped down. There are jobs advertised all over the place. Manufacturers are looking for labour and especially skilled labour. In 2012 we have the football world championships coming. They are building stadiums and hotels and so there are jobs available.

“Adding to this – people want to go home because their friends and families are back there and if there is no economic necessity for them to remain in the UK, they will go back home.” he said.

These are the very workers the UK Border Agency (UKBA) expects to solve staff shortages, and the main driving force behind imposing restrictions on non-EU migrants coming to the UK.

Last November the Government launched Tier 2 of the Points Based System, which replaced the Work Permit scheme, saying the system would ensure that British workers get first crack at jobs and ‘only those foreign workers the country needs will be allowed to come to the United Kingdom’.

Immigration Minister Phil Woolas announced that the new system would reduce the numbers of non-EU workers by 200,000:

“Had the points system been in place last year there would have been 12 per cent fewer people coming in to work through the equivalent work permit route. On top of this, the strict new shortage list means 200,000 fewer jobs are available via the shortage occupation route.”

With the added problem of Senior Carers being deported because they are unable to renew Work Permits, due to unreasonable restrictions and Government imposed salary levels, the Home Office is not helping staff-strapped care homes.

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