…To work as a Health Care Assistant (HCA)
In 2016, June to be precise, Britain stopped being part of the European Union. They Brexited to stand alone and in the words of the Brexiters “Take Control” of their own affairs. Since then, we have had a lot of ups and downs, everything, I repeat everything that went wrong was blamed on BREXIT. Who wouldn’t? A Yoruba adage says “Aje ke lana, omo ku loni, tani o mo pe aje to ke lana lo pa omo je”. Literally mean “Who is ignorant that the witch that cried last night, killed the new-born child that died today”.
BREXIT was blamed for everything that bedevilled Britain. The Remainers cried to high heavens, blaming the prime minister, Boris Johnson for all the woes happening now in Britain. Recently, just before Christmas, from September or so, there were shortages of fuel in garages, food items in stores and most of all, lorry drivers to bring in these goods.
The army has to be brought in to assist in delivering fuel to stations, food to the stores and the long que disappeared. What causes the shortages, is a story for another day.
Let’s bear in mind that the Covid 19 pandemic, has been with us now for over a year starting in the late of 2019. One year on, most countries are still struggling with it’s after effect on the fabric of the society. The western world is no exception.
The staff shortages
Britain is not alone in this after effect of Covid 19, as the country is suffering from a lot more that meets the eye. There are staff shortages within every sector of the economy. The food industry that relies mostly on the EU workers supply from around the block moved back home or to somewhere else around the European continent. Employers of labour are in dire need of staffs to work in the farm, factories, retails stores, the logistic and supply chain and more importantly within the health care sector.
These Europeans, mostly, the eastern Europeans make up the highest number of middle and lower-level employees within the health and social care industry.
Because of the growing impact of Covid-19, the variants emerging from it every now and then even after the third jab known as “Booster”, everyone is reeling from the effect at home, in the community and at work. Government tried not to add more to our woes by not adding stricter restrictions. We had Christmas but subtle without much fanfare. Thank God, not cancelled unlike last year.
The scarcity of everything within the country, especially of workers, the government is desperately seeking ‘healthcare assistants’ and other health care workers to shore up the shortages within the sector especially in the nursing homes that looks after the elderly.
To cushion the effects of the pandemic challenges, and part of the overall efforts of the Conservative led government, the decision to recruit from other countries aside the EU was unanimously agreed in the parliament.
The government of the United Kingdom is actively seeking to recruit workers from anywhere in the world to work as “Health Care Assistants – HCA’s”, also known as “Carers”, within the industry to shore up its workforce for that sector that have been struggling since the Brexit and the pandemic.
These group which the government have hitherto referred to as “unskilled” are now according to the Office for National Statistics – ONS, grouped under code 6145: Care Workers and Home Carers and in part:
This unit group is part of:
Minor Group 614: CARING PERSONAL SERVICES
Sub-Major Group 61: CARING PERSONAL SERVICE OCCUPATIONS
Major Group 6: CARING, LEISURE AND OTHER SERVICE OCCUPATIONS
For the purpose of clarity visit – ONS SOC specific unit/minor/major group details (onsdigital.github.io)
The above shows the importance of these group or skill within the health and social care sector. They can’t be ignored.
You may have heard the news or announcement by the UK health secretary, Mr Sajid Javid stating that Care workers will be recruited under the Health and Care visa scheme, in a statement released by the United Kingdom Department of Health and Social Care. The Health and Care Worker visa, which was announced in August 2020, now allows the auxiliary part of its medical professionals to come to the United Kingdom and work within the NHS, and in the adult social care sector. The statement from the Department of Health and Social Care also states that the “Visa will provide a 50 percent reduction in visa fees, an exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge, and a faster decision following the submission of an application”.
Hence, “Care assistants, care workers, caregivers, home care assistants, home caregivers, and support workers (supported housing, retirement and nursing homes)” are all eligible.
“Thousands of additional care workers could be recruited to help boost the adult social care workforce as a result of temporary changes to the health and care visa that will make social care workers, care assistants, and home care workers eligible for a 12-month period,” the report states.
Furthermore, “This will make it quicker, cheaper, and easier for social care employers to hire qualified workers to fill critical gaps in their workforce”.
“Although social workers put forth incredible and tireless efforts, the outbreak of the coronavirus has brought attention to a wide range of staff shortages in the social care sector, placing additional strain on the already overburdened workforce”. The statement concludes.
A recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to make care workers and home carers eligible for the Health and Care visa as well as to add the occupation to the Shortage was the catalyst for this increase.
Shortage Occupation List (SOL)
Because of the dire need for this group of workers within the health and social care sector in the UK, carers are now listed under the “Shortage Occupation List – SOL”. It then means that people from around the world, mostly third world countries who meets the criteria of what the government wants can apply to come to the United Kingdom as Health Care Assistants.
But bear in mind that “Caregivers who are included on the Shortage Occupation List will be required to earn a minimum annual salary of £20,480 in order to qualify for the Health and Care visa”. In other words, the employer, who will be the ‘sponsor’must be or willing to pay at least £10.00 per hour for such applicants to meet the salary requirements. This amount is a bit over the new minimum wage of £9+ that will come into effect this April 2022.
When it comes to providing quality care, the UK is committed to becoming a highly skilled, high-wage economy, and minimum salaries must reflect the professional skills required to achieve this goal.
Nigerians, the UK health sector needs you. Be equiped and be ready. Buyt you must have what it takes to give care.
Stay with me, part 2 will give you all the remaining details.
Franklyn Frantos (Snr)
Feferity Media Group © 2021
Images: Courtesy Google