A massive influx of migrant staff in the social care sector is causing disruption for those being looked after because of high staff turnover rates, academics have warned.
The latest government figures show that 15,655 migrants from the 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004 are listed as care assistants or home carers.
But George Leeson, assistant director of the Oxford University Institute of Ageing, which works with the university’s migration centre to understand population shifts, said migrant workers were only staying in social care for a few months. He told Personnel Today: “Some years ago, migrant workers were more stable in their roles, but there is now a huge turnover, suggesting that it is seen as a stepping stone to the wider UK labour market. As they leave, their jobs are taken by new migrants. This is not ideal for the people they are looking after.”
Richard Banks, head of workforce development at career assistance body Skills for Care, agreed that there are “routinely” a high number of people coming in and out of the profession.
“While the high turnover rates may seem negative – as it’s difficult to run a good service if you’re losing 20% of staff a year, for the economy of the UK – employers that train people up may be doing the UK a major service,” he said.
Skills for Care South West recently commissioned an induction pack specifically for migrant workers, recognising them as a source of skilled labour for the sector.