Government funding to boost recruitment in the adult social care sector

In February 2023, the Government announced that £15 million of funding will be made available during 2023 and 2024 to fund international recruitment within the adult social care sector.

The sector struggles with significant labour shortages, with employers across the health and care sectors unable to recruit and keep the staff they need. Vacancy rates in the sector run to the hundreds of thousands. In its report from June 2022, the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee reported that an extra 490,000 jobs would be needed in social care by the early part of the 2030s.

Staff shortages in health and social care can be attributed to multiple factors. These include a lack of long-term workforce planning by the government, Brexit leading to the departure of European nationals and a loss of staff coming from the EU, workforce pressure during the pandemic which led to many workers leaving the profession, long term concerns over pay and work conditions and job pressures due to increasing staff shortages.

In August 2020 the Health and Care visa was launched which reduced the costs payable by employers when recruiting from overseas. In February 2022 care workers were added to the shortage occupation list along with senior care workers and other health professionals, which made recruiting into these roles cheaper and reduced the minimum salary requirements for international recruits. Despite these changes, employers report that there are still significant complexities and costs with immigration recruitment which act as a barrier to effectively accessing the overseas markets.

Most NHS Trusts and larger care providers look to the international market to help alleviate their staffing problems but, although international recruitment has the potential to fill thousands of vacancies, it is difficult and providers find that they experience barriers to recruitment. These include administrative complexity and costs but also challenges with issues like pastoral support, housing and travel. The Government’s intention is that the fund will help to reduce the administrative burden of overseas recruitment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) providers.

The £15 million fund is intended to provide employers with support mechanisms so that they can better take advantage of the benefits presented by international recruitment. The fund will also support international recruits who are coming to the UK for work and help to ensure an ethical approach to recruitment and employment practices is adopted.If you are a care sector operator and would like support in recruiting from overseas, our immigration team at Freeths is on hand to provide that support.

We specialise in advising HR teams on business immigration for recruitment and supporting healthcare providers recruit the right people into role quickly. We hold expertise in securing licences for overseas recruitment, ensuring licence and visa compliance and getting fast results, securing visas for new employees, leaving you to get on with the day job.

If you have any queries on this article, please contact a member of our Immigration Team who will be happy to assist.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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