As we all know a big decision was taken by the UK on the 23rd of June 2016 to leave the European Union. There have been numerous articles and hours of TV coverage discussing what the impact of Brexit will be on the UK economy and the workforce across many sectors. At the moment no one knows exactly what that impact will be. This uncertainty will no doubt cause much anxiety for domiciliary care workers who have chosen to come here from the European Union.
Latest available figures suggest there are around 6.6 per cent or approximately 80,000 people who are employed in social care are from the European Union.
Domiciliary care workers along with others employed in the social care sector will be extremely concerned about their future working in the UK, and the impact that new immigration laws will have on their residential status. Workers looking to settle in the UK will have no idea of what new legislation may be introduced that may well have a huge influence on whether or not they choose to continue to work here.
The domiciliary care sector in particular continues to experience difficulties in recruitment and severe staff shortages. This is partly accounted for because many people born in the UK do not find working in the care sector attractive or rewarding. It is hardly surprising then that many employers are very concerned about what is going to happen in the future.
Central government needs reminding of the critical importance of this group of workers to domiciliary care and the wider social care sector and the impact this would have on the ability of providers to provide a service. Even if funding became available. Any policy change on immigration needs to account of these factors. Failure to do so could have a critical impact on the present structure of social care as we know it.
It may well be in the end that the changes that follow on from Brexit will acknowledge the valuable contribution made to social care by workers from the Europeans Union.
Stuart Cook General Manager Bettal Quality Consultancy