The Home Office has finally announced new guidelines on Senior Carer Work Permits, signalling a dramatic turn around of events.
The announcement, published on the Working in the UK website today, came after months of speculation and worry for the estimated 25,000 Senior Carers working in the UK Care Industry.
Pressure had been mounting on the Government from all sides, as major employers and health care organisations waded in to the fray.
Last week the English Community Care Association (ECCA), Registered Nursing Home Association, and other Care Sector Panel groups, met with Government Ministers to outline their concerns for staffing levels in the industry.
The Border and Immigration Agency’s (BIA) guidelines set out tougher rules for Senior Carer Work Permits following “extensive research and consultation with the Department of Health and other key sector stakeholders”.
The result of their research and consultation has shown that “Senior Care Worker positions which meet the work permit skills criteria are extremely rare”.
In future new or change of employment work permit applications for Senior Care Workers must be supported by a “robust business case to justify the qualifications and/or experience requested”.
Employers will also be expected to open up career opportunities for Care Workers within the “resident UK or wider EEA labour market” to fill vacancies below the level of the work permit skills criteria.
The good news for existing Senior Carers extending their Work Permits is that they will not have to meet the new skills criteria, but employers will have to comply with a new minimum salary of £7.02 per hour.
In other words, Senior Care Workers have been granted a rare concession by the United Kingdom Government.
Senior Carers who have had applications refused will have the chance of reapplying, but will have to pay the fee again.
Those people previously refused in-country extensions will not have their cases reopened unless the application was refused within the past 28 days, in which case they may apply for a review of the decision
Immigration Matters started the campaign to Save Our Senior Carers, back in February 2007 when it became clear that change had taken place behind closed doors. With support from Unison, Balita Pinoy, The Philippine Embassy, ECCA, RHNA, The Alliance, and many other groups all over the country, the Government was forced to take urgent action to avoid a staffing catastrophe.
Hundreds of migrant workers and their employers, have lobbied their MP’s for fair treatment and over 1700 people have signed our on line petition to the Prime Minister.
As a Minister in the Department of Health, Liam Byrne was acutely aware of the damage which would have been inflicted on the Care Industry by deporting up to 20,000 Senior Carers.
Immigration Matters would like to congratulate those in-country Senior Carers who have helped win a famous victory today. They will no doubt sleep easier tonight.
Thank you to the 1700 people who signed the Prime Ministers petition and supported our campaign.
In the meantime, if you you have been refused a Senior Carer Work Permit and would like advice on what to do next, please email Charles Kelly
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