Camphill tells Westminster of a ‘perfect storm’ as Brexit & Covid affect recruitmentType: Consultations | News
Topic: Brexit | Immigration | Volunteering
Published on: 8th December 2021
Camphill has always valued its international relationships, which bring diversity and a multi-cultural energy to communities. Over 500 people from overseas work or volunteer in Camphill communities in Scotland, providing social care and education to people with learning disabilities and with other support needs.
Many of the young volunteers have chosen to stay and provide social care to UK citizens during the Covid-19 national health emergency, which demonstrates their dedication to, and compassion for, the people they support.
The dual position of Brexit, which saw the end of freedom of movement, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, on top of a lack of investment in health and social care by authorities over decades has led to what one member described as a “perfect storm” for the recruitment and retainment of health and social care staff and volunteers.
Camphill Scotland is pleased that the UK Government has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake an UK-wide consultation, following the campaign of Camphill Scotland and our partners totaling over 50 organisations across the UK to secure a review of the impact of Brexit and the new points based immigration system on the health and social care sectors.
Members met with Dr John Evans, the MAC’s lead officer in Scotland, to discuss the current, and future, impact of Brexit and the ending of freedom of movement upon the Camphill communities in Scotland, and upon health and social care.
Members told Dr Evans that:
the stability of social care, and the continuity of care is at risk.
Members also spoke about the impact that the loss of diversity and multi-cultural aspects of recruiting internationally will have on community life.
Spiraling costs, burnout and bureaucracy
Camphill Scotland and our members are concerned that Brexit and the ending of freedom of movement for EU nationals, and the operation of the UK’s new points based immigration system, will have a major, adverse impact upon the ability of the Camphill communities in Scotland to recruit paid staff and volunteers from EU countries, and from non-EU countries, at the levels required to guarantee their sustainability.
In responding to the MAC’s consultation on the impact of the ending of freedom of movement upon health and social care, members commented as follows:
Costs have escalated. The senior staffing team is also close to burnout. It is expected that all will likely leave the health and social care sector within 3 years.
Trained professionals are choosing not to work within care home settings due to COVID-19, extra paperwork, cleaning, national expectations and the pressure not to bring COVID-19 into work.
We have seen a reduction of EU applicants and nursing professionals, which would have helped to give the staff team a good balance.
Simeon Care for the Elderly
Vacancy levels increased significantly after the ending of lockdown in late Spring 2021, running at 18%.
Some employees have held off moving on during the Covid-19 restrictions in 2020, and the community now finds itself with a higher turnover concentrated over a few months with the added challenge of no longer being able to recruit from its EU volunteers on site when there is also a marked reduction in applications from UK citizens for positions of employment – a perfect storm!
Camphill Blair Drummond
Costs have increased for individuals from other countries wishing to volunteer. It takes a lot of commitment for applicants wishing to work as international volunteers to make it all the way to Scotland.
Increased costs have made it more difficult to recruit volunteers.
Ochil Tower School
Baroness Jones tabled an Amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords on behalf of Camphill Scotland and our partners totalling over 50 organisations across the UK. This Amendment would have required the UK Government to make arrangements for an independent evaluation of the impact of the points based immigration system upon health and social care sectors across the UK. The UK Government, in response to Amendments tabled by Lord Rosser and by Baroness Jones, confirmed it would commission the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake this review.
The MAC launched a consultation which will inform the review “of adult social care and the impact the ending of freedom of movement has had on the sector”. The MAC is due to report back to the UK Government by the end of April 2022.
Read Camphill Scotland’s full response to the MAC’s consultation.