‘Disastrous’ new immigration rules ‘will force care homes in Wales to close’

Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

A social care leader has warned that care homes and home care agencies in Wales will be put out of business as a result of the new immigration rules announced by the Government.

Mario Kreft, the chair of Care Forum Wales, has called on Home Secretary Priti Patel not to “close the door” on overseas workers at a time when the sector was already suffering because of a major recruitment crisis.

The new system – set to come into force in January 2021 – will aim to end visas for low-skilled workers and cut the overall number of migrants coming to the UK.

It will award points to applicants based on specific skills, qualifications, salaries, English speaking ability and professions, with overseas workers – including those from the EU – required to have the offer of a skilled job with an “approved sponsor” to come here.

The Government is also backing a recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to lower the salary threshold for skilled workers wanting to come to the UK from £30,000 to £25,600.

But Priti Patel is facing calls to grant special exemptions for those working in the social care sector in a bid to stave off staff shortages.

According to Mr Kreft, care homes, nursing homes and home care agencies in North Wales are facing a massive crisis with an estimated shortfall of 7,000 staff by the year 2026.

The new immigration rules would, he said, exacerbate the  severe shortage of nurses and carers.

It would lead to loss of nursing home beds and the closure of care homes at a time when the number of over-85s in Wales is expected to more than double in the next 20 years.

 

‘Fragile’

Mr Kreft said: “This is something we have been warning about for a long time because it is clear that these proposals will have dire consequences for the social care sector and, more importantly, for the vulnerable people we look after.

“In recent years we have seen homes closing across Wales because their fragile finances just did not stack up because social care remains chronically underfunded despite it being such an important service.

“On top of that we are having to contend with a debilitating recruitment crisis which will be even worse unless the Government have a change of heart in relation to social care.

“The way fees are calculated means that it is possible to earn more stacking shelves in a supermarket than it is to provide social care for our loved ones.

“We need to explode the myth that social care staff are low skilled – that’s not true. They are just lower paid and that’s not fair.

“The new rules just do not make sense when you apply them to social care.

“One unintended consequence will be that it will place even more pressure on an already creaking NHS.

“Our social care providers currently underpin the provision in our hospitals but if more care homes, nursing homes and home care companies are forced out of business, alternative provision will have to be made for them.

“In that case it’s s highly likely that these vulnerable people will end up in hospital when that is probably the worst possible place for them to be, leading to even more bed blocking.

“This change in immigration policy means that the social care sector will have to improve pay levels significantly to attract the home-grown staff needed.

“That would require more money to be injected into social care as a matter of urgency. Nobody has said where that extra money would come from.

“Putting responsibility on the providers to sort out a mess of the Government’s making is irresponsible. This is a disaster waiting to happen.”

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RhosdduErnie The SmallholderGeorge D. AberJ humphrysHuw Davies Recent comment authors
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Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Yet another instance of Government Ministers and their “advisers” being out of tune with the basic needs of the country. We are not talking here about “ideals” but a very basic need for care services which much of the native population seem to be ill-equipped to tackle. Given that the notion of extended family has gone down the tubes steadily over recent decades it becomes inevitable that the delivery of basic care has to become a “formal” costs £’s service. Raising wages to a more sensible level might attract a few more natives into the service but I suspect that… Read more »

Royston Jones
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“According to Mr Kreft, care homes, nursing homes and home care agencies in North Wales are facing a massive crisis with an estimated shortfall of 7,000 staff by the year 2026”. And why is that, I wonder? The answer to this problem might lie in curbing one form of immigration to remove the necessity for the other. By which I mean, refuse planning permission for any more bungalows and flats along the north coast targeting retirees and the elderly from England. Also, insist that publicly-funded housing associations get out of this business. Another measure that could restrict the influx of… Read more »

Penderyn
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Penderyn

Having a population that is massively pensioner heavy is a huge burden on expenses and will destroy wealth creation in that area unless we can get pensioners to work economically….
However, on a global level we are just creating liquidity out of thin air – since Bretton woods in the 40s and the decoupling of gold from the dollar in the 70s by Nixon. Central banks just print funny money to cover up the unsustainability of our economy. We should already have had a recession by now. The printing presses are to be ramped up in the coming years

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

When Wales gets its independence we must have our own currency with our own central bank in our capital city: Cardiff.
Our currency value must be equal to units in GOLD.
The only other option is we use the Euro – That will mean EU membership where there are 27 other states which will be enough to get diverse opinions for Wales to remain independent and not become a colony.

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

We all know that the transfer of a slice of the demographic has an impact on how our (Welsh) national services perform – it either brings/drives cost or generates income. In the case of care and health it is overwhelmingly the former. We are not likely to be able to do anything about it until we secure independence. In the meantime in its finest begging bowl tradition we should see our Welsh Government make the case to Westminster/Whitehall for a recurring cash settlement to finance care and health services for all these people who arrive late in life when dependency… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Purchase and occupation of real estate should be controlled by our Senedd, through a housing commitee.
Only persons possessing Welsh housing qualifications to be granted consent to purchase property.
Qualification? Born and lived in Wales. Returnees. One Welsh parent. essential. etc. (To be continued……)
Exceptions 1; high-net-gain individuals who contribute certain level of tax per annum, sliding scale.
Exceptions 2; for “entitled” status to be on Social, Economic or Hardship grounds, decided by first minister via the Population Office..

John Ellis
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John Ellis

‘Qualification? Born and lived in Wales. Returnees. …’

Would I qualify on your criteria, Mr Humphrys?! I moved to Wales as a student at the end of the ’60s, took to the place, started learning ‘yr hen iaith’, and stayed on working here until I was nearly 40, when family complications prompted me to move back to my native south Manchester.

But hiraeth persisted, so we moved back here in 2016, before I got too old to make drastic life changes. I’d rather like to stay on … 😉

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Not born in Wales/ if lived continuous period of 10 yrs/status permanent after 30 yrs.
The “combined” period would give you “permanent” status, especially if you had to break the period due to social circumstances, as can be seen in Exceptions 2.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Not born in Wales, but I lived and worked here for twenty years continuously in my twenties and thirties; and the move when it came was absolutely due to social circumstances. Looks like I might qualify!

John Ellis
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John Ellis

You have a point …

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Explanation is in order. These are not my “ideas”, but “registration” law in certain countries .
Neither do I know what the new law will be in the UK, or if it has yet rejected EU regulation.
One benefit could be a seamless border with England? At least in transition.

John Ellis
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John Ellis

My comment was in response to Royston Jones’s post. I’ve recently seen suggestions that English local authorities are placing their people in need of social care in Wales because the costs are lower than is the case in much of England. I can’t imagine that being the case to any significant degree with elderly people being placed in residential care – I was professionally involved in that prior to retirement – because families would be outraged and the media reaction would be so awful that no local authority would contemplate it. But Royston’s point – that numbers of retirees from… Read more »

J humphrys
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J humphrys

Oh sorry, Agree anyway!

Penderyn
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Penderyn

Cymru/Wales Needs to desperately create its own training centres to hire the unemployed and underemployed already here to become carers et cetera. There are many many people in the communities around me who are not registered as unemployed but are unemployed and of working age.. Don’t believe the government hype that unemployment is really low

Mathew Rees
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Mathew Rees

Surely this is good news? Fewer English retirees to pay for.

What’s wrong with breeding and training our own?

Harries
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Harries

There is a huge shortage of people wanting to become careers, it’s physically and emotionally demanding, grossly underpaid and it would be pointless forcing people into caring as suggested by Mr Johnson as you can’t force people to care only perform tasks which wouldn’t be enough when caring for the vulnerable elderly. Maybe an upgrade in recognition and pay would be more of an incentive to recruit?

Huw Davies
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Huw Davies

Correct. However there is a common mindset among people right across the UK that caring is somehow “beneath their dignity” so maybe pay wouldn’t change things dramatically. Still, those already in caring roles should be better paid including families that do it themselves rather than engage formal care services. The UK P.M is a good example of someone who is well paid but doesn’t know how to care for himself, can’t even tuck his own shirt in properly !

George D. Aber
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George D. Aber

Great comment about the UK PM, spot on!

Walter Hunt
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Walter Hunt

Many of those from the older generation, who are going to be in need of care a lot sooner, wanted and voted for these immigration controls. The care sector exemplifies what is wrong with Wales’ people in, profits out model. While Japan 1950-90 and China 1989- grew their economies without mass in-migration, the UK’s policy was to exploit cheap in-migrant labour. If policy reversal forces improvement in the UK’s low productivity and Wales continues to outsource rather than nurture home grown talent, the benefit squeeze will see more and more Welsh forced into low paid work.

John Evans
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John Evans

knowing first hand many who work directly in the care services, on the front line. In real terms the pay has crashed over the last twenty years. If you simply pay people more then they will happily do care work. Care home owners who just repeat ‘well it’s a low paid sector’ are just making excuses. This should never really have been in the private sector.

Simon Gruffydd
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Simon Gruffydd

Wages for labour work on a supply and demand curve. Always have. A free for all immigration system drives down wages and hurts the working class. That’s an unavoidable consequence. A points-based immigration system where only qualified immigrants are allowed in hurts the poorer countries from which they are recruited. The poor country spends its time and resources training its citizens only for them to fly off to the UK (or wherever) where they get better wages. Both points-based and free for all immigration is damaging and immoral. Only no immigration hurts no one. And that’s what we should be… Read more »

Jonesy
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Jonesy

Immigration has nothing to do with low wages in west Wales. Last week in a local paper i saw a job advertised for a clerk by the NFU – 11-14K. That is the reality of the labour market in rural areas. That has been the reality for 40 years. – it was not that bad when housing was cheap as chips!. However things are massively skewed now thanks to Thatcherism, materialism and global economy. All these so called immigrants taking our jobs is a joke her in Wales – I don’t see them working for pittance as Teaching Assistants in… Read more »

George D. Aber
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George D. Aber

Out of curiosity Simon, what about those living abroad with some Welsh ancestry & pride in Welsh history & culture, who have interest in relocating, as to contribute what they can to Welsh society & seeking at least some level of acceptance?

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

They would, of course, be given favourable consideration for migration to Wales in a points system run by an independent Wales with control of its own borders, just as Germany offers same to, e.g., Russians of German ancestry.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

“Care home owners who just repeat ‘well it’s a low paid sector’ are just making excuses.” That’s only true in those rather few places where a care home can turn a profit by declining to accept any residents who are unable to fund themselves, either from their own resources or through the beneficence of their families or friends. That is indeed possible in some areas, mostly in the south-east of England where the money is. Over much of the UK it’s simply not possible, because there aren’t enough people with available wealth to make such a business model viable. My… Read more »

J humphrys
Guest
J humphrys

Weekly charges on the coast seem to be from 500 to 850 pounds.
What were they in N West England?

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

I retired at the end of 2006, and now I live here rather than there. I’m afraid that I haven’t kept up with the current fees paid by councils back there for residential caree.

J humphrys
Guest
J humphrys

Okay, thanks.

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

If people from outside Wales come to Wales to retire then the country(s) where they worked and paid into should either continue to pay their pensions.
Or alternatively, the country where they have emigrated from should transfer their pension contributions from their state/private fund(s) into the our Welsh institutions.
We need to have that arrangement on our independence day with the UK especially.