Asylum seekers can work in care homes

Kathy Jenkins – 20th January 2022

Asylum seekers can work in care homes after Priti Patel rule change

Common Weal’s position is that all asylum seekers should be able to work from the moment they arrive in the UK.  Therefore, our first response to this announced change is that anything which allows at least some asylum seekers to work has to be welcomed – but it is a cautious welcome.   

First, the announcement says that unlike other ‘shortage occupations’ care workers ‘do not need specialist training’.  Although this is sadly true in terms of getting a job in care, it is not true in terms of doing the job.  Caring is skilled work looking after the most vulnerable in our society; it needs relationship building skills and can include some medical procedures.  Common Weal, the trade unions and many others are fighting for better training and education for care workers.   If asylum seekers are recruited, we hope this will be put in place for them.   

Second, there are a range of health and safety risks for social care workers (see https://commonweal.scot/policies/health-safety-and-welfare-of-the-social-care-workforce/ ). These include exposure to biological and chemical hazards, obviously exacerbated by Covid19 with the associated risk due to inadequate personal protective equipment; and potential exposure to aggression or even violence. Further risk results from work related stress caused in large part by precarious contracts, uncertain hours, lack of good support and supervision and often not having enough time to spend with those for whom the worker is caring.   It will be crucial that good care be taken of the health, safety and welfare of a potentially vulnerable group of workers.

This change for asylum seekers follows the Government’s decision to include social care workers in the health and care visa and shortage occupation list.  This should mean that non UK workers could potentially immigrate to work in social care in the UK.  However, it is unlikely many will be able to do so as the minimum salary allowed is £20,480 per year, more than most domestic social care workers earn.  The best solution to the shortage of social care workers would be to offer this level of pay, together with improved working conditions, to domestic workers including asylum seekers and to those from overseas. 

5 thoughts on “Asylum seekers can work in care homes”

  1. Ian Davidson

    Agreed, otherwise just another short term con/fix by UK Gov to fix the Brexit mess they have created?

  2. I am personally horrified and disgusted at this – and horrified that Common Weal & Scotland should welcome this. I was considering contacting both my MP & MSP to ask them to object to this in the strongest possible terms. Typical men, who obviously have not given long term care themselves. Obviously you have not had to deal with the care system personally. Part of the reason I voted for Brexit was to stop untrained nurses & carers from working in Scottish care homes, because of my experiences. At what point does it become criminal negligence when a nurse or carer can’t speak or write basic English, let alone be trained in care. The company told them they could help themselves to food. They would steal food from the trolley & not bother to feed the vulnerable residents they were employed to. Relatives had to give up their time instead. What of their attitudes to the elderly in their own countries? They do not have care homes or look after them. They leave them to die there – exactly as they do in our care homes. (This happened in care homes all across Europe & the West during covid. Be assured it was happening before). No-one can say anything for fear of being considered racist. Consider the illegal immigrants crossing the channel. Most of the ones that I saw are men. What happened to ‘women & children’ first? Many come from countries where women are considered goods and chattel. Can you imagine one of these men left alone with a vulnerable elderly lady who has communication or capacity issues? It does not bear thinking about. Please stop writing articles about care, when you come out with this ignorant & sentimental garbage.

  3. I told one young nurse for taking food off the trolley during mealtimes & encouraging the young carers to do the same, instead of feeding vulnerable residents. This would have been a sacking offense previously & is basically theft. This nurse could barely speak English, couldn’t understand or answer questions from other health professionals, let alone Scottish speaking residents & families. They were given bonuses for recruiting other people from their country! I consider English to be my second language, yet it was compulsory for any and all jobs. I expect anyone working here to be treated in the same manner. I would not even consider doing a job with life or death consequences in any other country with the equivalent level of language. Nor would I consider taking on a job as a nurse or carer without training & it is disgusting that it is allowed to happen in Scotland. I do not believe that carers are underpaid and deserve a higher wage, if they are not trained. I was under the impression that they required SVQ’s or enrolled nurse training before working in the field. I supported care from late 70’s, so am used to dealing with properly trained & professional nurses, enrolled nurses.
    I voted for Brexit and would do so again. Having believed in an independent Scotland my whole life, I do not believe that means being in Europe.

  4. It was written in my relative’s care plan that they preferred female carers, for personal care. As I witnessed the impact on my relative with two new male carers, I had to remind of this. I wasn’t sure if it was even still the case and was very hesitant to ask for fear that it would have a negative impact on her. No-idea what would happen if I voiced that now!

  5. When the care home company Four Seasons went bust in 2019, it was reported that the message from Westminster was that they would do everything in their power to ensure that residents were taken care of and a new care provider found for them. The message from Scot Gov, was that they would do everything in their power to ensure that staff found other jobs. Spot the difference? Which attitude do you prefer?

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