Valuing our International VolunteersType: News
Topic: Brexit | Immigration | Volunteering
Community: Corbenic | Newton Dee | Blair Drummond | Camphill School Aberdeen
Published on: 10th June 2021
International volunteers make an important contribution to the work of the Camphill communities in Scotland, and to the care and support they provide for people with learning disabilities and other support needs. Camphill Scotland was glad to participate in Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2021) as we believe that it is important to recognise and celebrate the significant contribution which international volunteers make to the work of the 11 Camphill communities in Scotland, and to the work of charities across the UK.
During Volunteers’ Week we shared a number real life stories from Camphill Blair Drummond, Camphill School Aberdeen, Corbenic and Newton Dee on on social media, and some of these life changing stories were referenced by the Scottish Government’s Communities, Social Security & Equalities team.
Threat to international connections
Camphill has strong international links, and has become a global movement, since the first Camphill community was established in 1940 at Milltimber, Aberdeenshire by Austrian Jewish refugees from the Nazis. The Camphill movement is international in its outlook, with more than 119 communities now established in 27 countries around the world.
Camphill in Scotland continues to have strong international links, and citizens from different countries make a major contribution to the work of the 11 Camphill communities in Scotland, and to the care and support they provide for people with learning disabilities and other support needs.
Emma Walker, Director of Camphill Scotland, highlighted the significant contribution which volunteers from other countries make to the work of the Camphill communities in Scotland, and to the work of charities across the UK.
Each year hundreds of international volunteers come from across the world to Scotland to volunteer within a Camphill community.
The commitment and care shown by each person – particularly since the beginning of the pandemic – is remarkable and adds to the unique environment of each Camphill.
Sadly if, as a consequence of Brexit, the UK Government decides to enforce the Immigration Health Surcharge for international volunteers from EU countries, and from other countries across the World, this could have a major impact on Camphill communities, and other charities across the UK.
Join our call for an exemption for international volunteers
Against this background, Camphill Scotland and our partners are leading a campaign to ensure that the immigration health surcharge exemption for health and social care workers is extended to international volunteers working in health and social care settings, and to international volunteers working in other settings for charities in the UK:
Contact us if your organisation would like to join over 50 other organsiations across the UK who have joined our call for an exemption to the immigration health surcharge to be extended to include international volunteers working in health and social care settings across the UK.
- Contact Emma, Director, Camphill Scotland for more information.
- Around 215 international volunteers are working in Camphill communities in Scotland, which provide social care and education to people with learning disabilities and other support needs.
- The immigration health surcharge (IHS) was set up in 2015, and enables those who pay it to access the NHS. By way of further background, the UK Government has provided the following information about the Immigration Health Surcharge: “Most non-EEA nationals applying for temporary leave to enter or remain in the UK for longer than 6 months must pay an IHS to the Home Office at the point of visa application. Income raised from the IHS goes to general UK government funds and is then distributed to devolved health administrations (including England) under the Barnett formula. It has raised over £1.5 billion since it was introduced. The IHS will also apply to EEA nationals moving to the UK after the end of the transition period (subject to ongoing negotiations with the EU) under the UK’s new points-based immigration system” – UK Government, Immigration health surcharge: guidance for reimbursement, (1 October 2020)
- In May 2020 the UK Government announced an Immigration Health Surcharge exemption for health and care staff workers. This exemption, however, does not include international volunteers working in, or applying to work in, the UK as volunteers in health and social care, or in other settings for charities based in the UK. Camphill Scotland and our partners are campaigning to ensure the UK Government extends the exemption to international volunteers.
- Camphill Scotland and our partners have been leading a campaign to ensure that the Immigration Health Surcharge exemption for health and care staff, announced by the UK Government in May 2020, extends to international volunteers working in health and social care settings, and to international volunteers working in other settings for charities in the UK.