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The shortage in nursing homes and care workers across England is predicted to worsen over the next five years due to tightening immigration rules, a report warns.
Nursing homes and care agencies in England are predicted to suffer a shortage of approximately 200,000 workers due to low pay, stress and decreasing moral.
The shortage could be exasperated if the government is to tighten immigration rules that severely restrict non-EU workers from coming to Britain.
The findings come from a report published by the International Longevity Centre and Independent Age, the older people’s charity.
It’s estimated that one in seven care workers in England are non-EU immigrants. This equates to 91,000 workers in total.
A report entitled ‘Moved to Care’ calls for a relaxation of visa restrictions for those who wish to come to Britain to work within the care sector.
Without these care workers, elderly and disable people could face a ‘dire’ future, the report warns.
It’s believed that 71,600 jobs in the social care sector are currently unfilled. At one position in every 20, that’s twice the rate for the UK labour force on the whole.
The ageing population is fuelling demand for carers and care workers, but due to high staff turnover, an ageing workforce and immigration restrictions, these positions are almost impossible to fill.
Authors of the report fear this figure could increase dramatically if standards within the sector aren’t to improve. Overall, the staff shortage is likely to increase by 189 per cent in the next five years.
Ben Franklin, head of economics of Ageing at ILC-UK said: “Enabling migrant workers to fill workforce gaps is one part of the solution, but it is no silver bullet.
“We must ensure that the sector is able to attract more UK and foreign born workers alike.
“The alternative will be a degradation in the quality of care and an increasing reliance on family carers.
“If this is the future, it will have dire implications for those needing care, their family members and the wider economy.”