Government told to scrap immigration visa fees and give care workers £10.50 minimum wage

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has urged the government to remove all charges to immigration visas and set a minimum wage of £10.50 an hour for care workers in England to help alleviate the impact of workforce challenges.

The MAC report, which briefs ministers on immigration policy has put forward 19 recommendations, which it says will alleviate the challenges facing the social care sector, including recruitment and retention.

The National Care Forum (NCF) the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) and the Homecare Association have welcomed the report and said this “reiterates some very important issues” which includes issues of underfunding and how this continues to “exacerbate challenges to providers”, high staff vacancy and turnover rates and the “impact of low pay and the care workforce challenges”.

‘We know the true value of care work is much more’

Vic Rayner, chief executive of the NCF and member of the social care expert advisory for the MAC said: “While a focus on the minimum pay for care workers in this report is a helpful contribution to this issue, the NCF has consistently called for an independent pay review for social care, which involves employers, commissioners, and employee representatives with a view to implementing a new career-based pay and reward structure which is comparable with the NHS and equivalent sectors and fully-funded by central government.”

The VODG is also urging the government to “embrace” the committee’s recommendations to fully fund a rate of social care pay above the National Living Wage.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of VODG said: “At present, charities are prevented from improving pay rates because funding passed down by central government to local authorities falls woefully insufficient.