HCL Responds to Government Plans on Recruiting Overseas Social Workers
Welcomes policy on child social workers, but expresses concerns over adult services
HCL, the UKs largest health and social care staffing company, today welcomed the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)'s recommendation that child and family social workers can continue to be hired from abroad, but expressed concern that adult social workers have been taken off the national occupation shortage list, despite evidence that a high proportion of adult social work vacancies in the UK remain unfilled.
HCL, which includes Bluecare, the UK's leading social care company, was responding to the MAC's recommendations concerning national shortage occupations in the UK, which have been accepted in full by the Government, it was announced last week.
Kate Bleasdale, Executive Vice Chairman of HCL, said:
"We are surprised and disappointed that adult social workers are no longer regarded as being a national shortage occupation, despite so much recent public attention on the UK's chronic lack of social care professionals in all service areas.
"Everyone now knows that the UK is facing an unprecedented crisis in social care staffing, with around 14% of vacancies for social care professionals remaining unfilled, rising to around 30% in the London area. While we welcome recent Government initiatives to attract more graduates to the profession, this will not solve the problem of filling vacancies that exist now and are often highest in the most vulnerable service areas such as child protection and vulnerable adult services.
"The clear solution is to look overseas for appropriately qualified social care professionals who are keen to bring their skills to the UK, and with our networks spanning Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Middle East, we are working to do just that. While we are pleased that highly skilled child and family social workers can continue to be recruited from abroad and help plug a serious shortfall in the UK, we are concerned that adult social workers have been removed from the national shortage occupation list, despite Local Government Authority evidence that a significant proportion of vacancies exist in this service area.
"We need to be able to recruit adult social workers from overseas, otherwise there is a clear danger that vulnerable adults in the UK are simply not getting the care and support that they need.