The immigration white paper is a mixed picture for health and social care

Workforce experts note that despite avoiding some damaging proposals, there is little to cheer about in the long run.

Press release

Published: 19/12/2018

Commenting on the immigration white paper, Candace Imison, Director of Policy at the Nuffield Trust said: 

"Today’s immigration white paper is a mixed picture for health and social care: it has avoided adopting some of the more damaging proposals being discussed, but there is little to cheer in the long run.

“For the NHS, the removal of some red tape around the resident labour market test should help streamline the process for skilled staff wishing to join the health service, which is good news. 

“But depending on where it is set, there is a risk that an earnings threshold would almost certainly impose further shortages of vital workers such as certain health professionals in the NHS. The Government proposes to engage with employers and businesses on the exact amount, but ongoing uncertainty about this may impact on attempts to attract much-needed staff in the meantime."

Commenting on the implications for social care, Natasha Curry, Senior Policy Fellow at the Nuffield Trust said: 

"On social care the white paper acknowledges England’s reliance on migrants in filling crucial staff gaps. But it is concerning that proposals for a transitional period involve allowing people to come for a maximum of only 12 months, with no entitlement to bring dependants. 

“It is unlikely that such a scheme would attract sufficient numbers of people to address staff shortages. What's more, the 12 month 'cooling off' period outlined is likely to exacerbate the existing recruitment and retention challenges, damaging the long term stability which the social care sector badly needs."