Tier 2 quota needs urgent
treatment: why caring
for the NHS will help

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS tomorrow, the government recently announced measures that will be good not just for public health, but have the welcome side-effect of giving the private sector a tonic too.

Firstly, funding will increase by £20 billion (even if critics don’t believe that’s enough) and, more importantly for recruitment management, doctors and nurses will be taken out of the list of occupations in the Tier 2 restricted CoS monthly allocation.

As we have previously reported, thousands of skilled foreign workers, including civil engineers and systems analysts, have been refused entry to the UK since December 2017 because of the migrant ‘cap’.

The latest figures, released last Friday, show that the June allocation of RCoS was over-subscribed again. Valid applications were successful in securing a RCoS if they scored at least 60 points. Broadly speaking, that is the equivalent to a salary of over £55,000, unless the occupation was considered to be ‘in shortage’.

It is estimated that exempting doctors and nurses will free up at least 40 per cent of every month’s quota from July 2018. In that month, the number of RCoS available will be 2,187, and it is hoped that hundreds of desperately needed assignees in industries like  financial services, construction and IT will stand a greater chance of success as a result.

While this amendment to the immigration target is encouraging, it does not mean that in the future demand will not exceed supply again. And the problem may arise in an area where staff are as vital and scarce, but can’t command high scores on the points-based system.

The average salary for a care worker is £16,000. There is currently a deficit of 90,000 staff vacancies in social care – and this huge figure will only get worse, as the population ages and requires more support.

In the past, charities have turned to EU nationals to fill these posts, with the number working in this sector more than doubling in the past 17 years. But migration figures and other research shows that Brexit Britain is becoming less of an attractive residence than before for EU nationals. Those who remain after 2020 may not meet the criteria needed to gain the sort of complex visas they will require (for which non-EU nationals are now obliged to apply).

In addition, many organisations simply do not have the experience or resources needed to train UK-born staff, nor handle the complex paperwork.

As a result, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research, we are facing ‘a perfect storm of high employee churn, skills shortages, low pay and increasing labour demand.’

Time will tell whether these changes are enough to keep the economy alive and kicking.

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