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New border control scheme "disaster" for care sector

19 February 2020

The Government has unveiled an Australian-style points system to tighten up border controls which will come into effect from January 2021. Unskilled or low skilled workers and those who can’t speak English to a certain level will no longer qualify to work in the UK.

Unison, the UK’s largest healthcare sector union, branded the move “an absolute disaster for the care sector”.

Anyone wanting to move to the UK for work will have to have a job offer with a salary threshold of £25,600 with an option for ‘special cases’ which have yet to be identified, with a threshold of £20,480.

There are no options for self-employed people.

These changes raise alarm bells for disabled people who employ personal assistants.

The move will also see repercussions in the supply chain for food production and distribution, as well as in the retail sector, which is likely to drive up costs for the consumer.

DR UK’s CEO Kamran Mallick said: “This change is deeply concerning. We know that since the announcement of Brexit, disabled people have seen a dramatic downturn in the number of responses received from adverts placed for personal assistants and care workers. As a result, we know of many cases where disabled people can no longer find people to employ as a personal assistant.

“The consequence of a lack of available British care workers is, disabled people are forced to go without, or to share personal assistants, which drastically reduces the amount of time in which we can be functional, independent members of society.

“Half of people in this country who are living in poverty are disabled or have a disabled family member. The consequence of an increase in prices on the high street and in supermarkets is that those who already live in poverty will be squeezed even more.

“We are urging the government to think twice about the impacts of this move on those within British society who have the least income and need the care sector to work effectively, and to put in place robust measures to mitigate the impacts of these policies on the most vulnerable. These changes are not just about economics, they are about people’s lives.”