Home News UK CARE ASSISTANTS RETURNING BACK TO AFRICA

UK CARE ASSISTANTS RETURNING BACK TO AFRICA

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A major provider of home care services in the UK has revealed that it is facing exorbitant expenses by paying migrant workers to stay idle due to delays in the renewal of immigration permits by the Home Office.

Last year, thousands of overseas care workers were invited to the UK to address the 152,000 vacancies in the sector. However, following instances of exploitation by scammers and certain care providers, allegations of modern slavery surfaced, prompting the government to tighten regulations.

As part of the regulatory changes, care workers are no longer permitted to bring their families to the UK as of March 2024.

These developments coincide with the issuance of 106,000 visas to carers by the government in 2023.

CEO Darren Stapelberg of Grosvenor Healthcare expressed frustration, stating, “The sponsorship process has swung from being overly permissive to nearly impossible. Despite the ease with which individuals were sponsored previously, the current system is making it extremely challenging to bring in new staff and renew existing contracts.”

Currently, Grosvenor Healthcare is reducing wages for 30 of its migrant workers, with plans to do the same for an additional 90 soon.

Stapelberg lamented the loss of eleven workers who returned home, noting, “We’re losing valuable contributors to our society precisely when there’s a dire shortage of staff.”

In response, a spokesperson from the Home Office stated, “Our guidelines ensure that individuals who have applied for visa extensions are entitled to the same benefits as their initial permits. Sponsors must demonstrate the existence of genuine job vacancies at the time of application. Applications lacking evidence of available work are not approved.”

Jane Townson, CEO of the Homecare Association, highlighted the challenges faced by ethically operating providers in sponsoring migrant workers due to the Home Office’s refusal to grant certificates of sponsorship. She emphasized the impracticality of guaranteeing hours in advance due to fluctuating care needs, resulting in workers being sent home and providers forfeiting hours of care.

Townson urged for a more balanced approach from UK Visas and Immigration to prevent further strain on health and care services.

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