Cynthia Barker of Bison UK Immigration Advisers writes:
Former Prime Minsiter Gordon Brown announced a few months ago yet another immigration shake up.
Care Workers and Chefs, two of the professions which have attracted most non-EU nationals, are to be removed from the official shortage occupations list by 2012 and 2014 respectively.
A few weeks before it was students and private colleges, this time it’s migrant workers.
As I have been involved in the care industry for the last ten years, I am extremely concerned as to how care homes and hospitals will meet its staff demands when they rely so heavily on international workers.
Whilst the Prime Minister said better training of British nationals would progressively tackle the skills shortages that have led to posts being filled by migrants, this will take years to fulfill, especially when NVQ Train to Gain budgets are being slashed as part of debt-busting government cuts.
In last week’s article published by Immigration Matters, 60 Filipino farm workers milk dairy cows in Kent, because their boss stated that they would be lost without them. According to the report- on the farm, Mr Gavila, 48, one of the Filipino farm workers, arrived three years ago, and was joined by Mr Gonzales, 34, last year. Both speak good English and are qualified in animal science. They even talk to the cattle in Pilipino!
More than 50 per cent of farm jobs require at least two years training, but farmers such as Mr Hickson have no idea where to find these young people. “It is not that we haven’t tried … finding locals. Young lads are difficult, and want to go on the beer all night with their mates, but we have to be up to start milking at 5.30am… For us, reliability is better than ability. We can train them to be able, but they have to come with the right frame of mind.”
I would expect the same reaction in the care sector, where I have met a lot of care home employers who would just not be able to provide the services they offer without migrant carers. Some of them also take on students doing vocational courses in Health and Social Care which may be ideal as the students are up to date with their training and qualifications. The care homes would meet the requirements of the Care Quality Commission too if they employ qualified care workers.
Full details of the Shortage Occupation List can be viewed on the Home Office website.
The new coalition government has recently introduce an interim immigration cap on non-EU migrants, which has made the situation even worse for care home employers and their overseas workers.
Cynthia Barker is an OISC registered immigration adviser with Bison Management UK.
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