Maximising talent in health and social care post-Brexit & COVID-19
31 March 2021
Brexit is impacting employers in the health and care sector more than in other parts of the economy.
The sector has always had a blended workforce from the UK and abroad across many of its roles, and new immigration rules are presenting challenges. The fact these changes are happening in the middle of a global pandemic makes it tougher still.
It may seem overwhelming, but there are ways to get through this.
The race for talent
There is a global shortage of many key roles in the health and care sector, from healthcare professionals to lab technicians. And with the UK now outside the EU, it is harder to attract this vital talent, especially during a pandemic.
With increased challenges and expense for people wanting to work in the UK's health and care industries, there is greater competition to attract talent. We have already seen people leaving health and care jobs in the UK due to the attractiveness of working in EU countries. For example, an EU citizen, who could previously work in the UK as easily as in France or Germany, may now find they need a work visa costing thousands of pounds.
In addition, a harmonised approach to COVID-19 testing for travellers across all airlines and countries, covering the types of test and the timing would help workers move more easily between countries.
But employers can help too by making those key roles more appealing, for instance by improving training and offering more apprenticeships to those already residing in the UK.
Some good news
Changes to the immigration rules earlier this month (March 2021) will help the sector. The Government has added many health and care roles to the list of ‘shortage occupations’, making it easier for people in these roles to enter the UK.
- Health services and public health managers and directors,
- Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors,
- Health professionals not elsewhere classified (previously recognised as a shortage occupation in Wales and now
- expanded to include the rest of the UK),
- Laboratory technicians,
- Nursing auxiliaries and assistants,
- Senior care workers.
What should you do?
As an employer in the health industries or social care, here are some recommendations:
- Communicate to the EU employees in your workforce to let them know that they should register for the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 to allow them to stay and work here, and keep them reassured throughout this time with regular updates.
- Work with your employees to make sure they have their qualifications recognised in the UK with the relevant professional regulator.
- Make sure you understand the right-to-work checks that apply to all workers in the UK. Healthcare workers can typically have a contractor type employment so it is prudent for companies to make sure that all compliance is looked at.
- Be aware of the rapidly changing regulations about business travel. It’s a complex and dynamic environment because of the pandemic, so make sure your company remains compliant.
If you would like more information or are seeking specific advice, please get in touch.