I asked the UK Government what steps are being taken to encourage EU Nationals to come to the UK, to meet the demand for NHS and care sector workers post-Brexit. I recently spoke in a debate on this matter, pointing out the tremendous and invaluable role EU nationals play in the NHS and the care sector. It is particularly difficult to recruit and retain staff in the care sector and currently we rely on 104,000 EU citizens to help make up the shortfall. By 2035 it is expected in the UK we will need 650,000 social care workers to keep pace with rising demand and this sector already faces a recruitment crisis.
Many EU nationals are leaving their jobs in the care sector and the NHS as they feel unwanted and unwelcome, and coupled with the extra pressure placed on these sectors by the UK’s ageing population, there are huge staffing challenges ahead. It is therefore vital that we take every step to ensure EU nationals continue to come to the UK to work in the NHS and the care sector, and that they feel welcome here.
The Government’s action on this issue has not helped the problem, with EU nationals who have lived and worked in this country, often for decades, being made to feel unwelcome by the UK Government forcing them to register post-Brexit. The £30,000 minimum income threshold set out in the Immigration Bill also has the potential for a disastrous effect on the sector, as many NHS and care workers would not meet this requirement, despite the tremendous role they play.
Please click below to watch the exchange.