The union’s analysis of official data has revealed that over 350,000 workers in adult social care are migrants – almost a fifth of the sector’s entire workforce – and around 115,000 of them have come to the UK from an EU country.
The government’s plans are to restrict immigration into so-called ‘low skilled’ work by implemented a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 for migrants applying for visas.
Around 110,000 social care jobs are already going unfilled due to a recruitment and retention crisis in the sector, fuelled by low pay and insecure working conditions.
GMB National Officer, Rachel Harrison, said: “For too long, care workers have faced inadequate rates of pay, lack of recognition for their skills and denial of opportunities for progression.”
“Care in the UK is facing almost a 500,000-person black hole thanks to the government’s insulting immigration policy and failure to properly fund the sector,” she added.
“For the likes of the home secretary to brand the care workers our whole society relies on as ‘low-skilled’ is a bit rich and has caused stress and anxiety for people who do an outstanding job day in, day out.
“The demand on social care services is increasing every day, workloads are already unmanageable and the government has no plan for filling the black hole of almost half a million workers that could result from their policy. At a time when our care system is facing its greatest-ever crisis, this government seems determined to hack away at its greatest asset – our carers.”