Save our Overseas Senior Carers
Author: Charles Kelly
SOS message to Immigration Minister Liam Byrne - If you get rid of all our overseas Senior Carers there will be a staffing crisis in the Care Industry.
With thousands of Work Permit holders and their families facing the threat of removal from the UK, something must be done to 'Save our Overseas Senior Carers'.
The Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) are refusing virtually all Senior Carer Work Permit applications or putting them "on hold", pending new policy guidelines. The tough new line taken by the BIA is not only affecting new overseas applications but also existing workers already in the UK and renewing their permits.
New rules, to be announced shortly, are not expected to be good news for the thousands of Filipino Senior Carers already working in the UK whose lives are in the balance. This comes on top of previous measures which have made non-EU workers feel unwelcome in the UK.
Last year the Government changed the rules on permanent residency (ILR) by extending the length of time required to qualify from four to five years. This meant that migrant workers coming up to the end of a four year Work Permit will have to extend their permits and leave to remain at a cost of over £500.
But with the BIA introducing new restrictions, making it almost impossible to renew a Senior Carer Work Permit, many thousands of workers and their families will be removed from the UK.
As recently reported by Immigration Matters "Are Senior Care Work Permits History" the Border and Immigration Agency, has already slashed the number of Work Permits issued this year.
Despite this, applications and fees of £190 are still being accepted by the BIA, when it is clear that 99.9% of Senior Work Permits are being declined with no offer of a refund.
Care Home owners and Managers are also expecting the worst, bracing themselves for the news that their overseas workers will be thrown out like yesterday's newspapers.
The industry is facing a staffing crisis
Industry trade bodies have yet to speak up for their members on this serious issue, despite the fact that many Care Homes will have to close if they cannot meet strict staffing guidelines laid down by the CSCI.
One Care Home owner in the North East told me this week that he is disappointed with lack of response from industry bodies and has resigned from ECCA (English Community Care Association).
"We have two Work Permit applications on-going at the Home Office which have been with them for weeks and from talking to the caseworker my gut feeling is that they will be refused.
"We've had an advert in the Job Centre for Carers and Senior Carers for ten years with very few local applicants, and there is no way we could have survived without overseas staff.
There have been times when our Manager and Deputy have had to cover a night shift because there was not even an agency carer available." he said.
Nursing and Care Homes, as well as Learning Disability Centres and Domiciliary providers will suffer a severe staffing crisis if the BIA continues to squeeze out foreign Senior Carers. Some of the most vulnerable people in our society will be put at risk.
Something must be done to save our overseas Senior Carers
If you are affected you must make your voice heard by the Government. My advice is to get your employers and local Member of Parliament (MP) involved in this campaign.
If every overseas Senior Carer in the UK goes to see their constituency MP and asks them to write to the Immigration Minister Mr Liam Byrne and the Health Minister Ivan Lewis the Government will get the message.
Get your employer involved
Visit your MP at their regular surgery and ask for their support
Write to your MP with a supporting letter from your employer
Finally, don't leave it until your visa has expired before taking action.
You can find details of your local MP by visiting http://www.parliament.uk
If you should have any questions on working or studying in the UK email Charles Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW 2 COME TO THE UK to Live Work Study or Visit by Charles Kelly & Cynthia Barker 2005 ISBN 0-9546338-3-0.
Available from National Bookstore, PowerBooks, Fully Booked and our website.
USEFUL WEBSITES http://www.immigrationmatters.co.uk/useful_websites.html
About the author: Charles Kelly is a registered Immigration Adviser and Co Author of "How 2 Come to the UK to Live Work Study or Visit".
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