The United Kingdom (UK) government has announced that it will allocate £15 million between 2023 and 2024 to boost international hiring in the adult social care industry. Since February 2022, care workers have been on the list of occupations with a shortage in the UK.
There were rumors that the UK might stop hiring nurse assistants and social care workers in March this year. However, the British government recently announced that it will continue hiring for these positions until 2024.
This fund’s mission is to give recruiting firms assistance, among other things, with finding foreign applicants, finishing sponsorship license and visa applications, and onboarding.
Thousands of nurses and care workers have fled Zimbabwe and South Africa since February 2021. According to data from the British Home Office Zimbabwe and South Africa are now among the top five countries that apply for skilled worker visas.
To qualify for employment as adult social care workers in the UK and other European countries, many Africans have turned to pursuing nurse aide courses due to their country’s ongoing economic difficulties.
The ongoing shortage of care workers in the UK has been blamed on Brexit and the UK National Health Service’s (NHS) incompetence. The NHS’s workforce planning has been described as poor and ineffective.
The NHS has also been accused of emptying other countries’ medical personnel. Zimbabwean hospitals recently complained that most of their nurses have left for the UK since January 2022. According to official statistics, Zimbabwe lost approximately more than 2000 nurses to the UK in 2022.
Employment Scams and Exploitation in the UK
There has been a growing trend of African social care workers being exploited in bonded labor schemes in the UK, a development that has been described as modern-day slavery. Healthcare workers from African countries are deceived into moving to the UK by dishonest intermediaries who deduct up to half of their pay and make them live in poverty.
These scams are frequently committed by unlicensed agencies run by Africans in the UK. Nurses and doctors are promised good working conditions and a better life. However, when they get to the UK, many discover they have been recruited into bonded labor. Recently, there was an outcry on Twitter after a leaked care worker pay slip allegedly showed wages of £2,255 but only £604 after their employers deducted administrative fees.
Licensed agencies pay their workers fairly; however, an unlicensed agency operated by an African will only give you 50%. For example, if you’re making £14 an hour, they will only pay you £7. After taxes are deducted, you are left with just £4 per hour, which is only enough for rent and food. The agency will justify this by saying that I sponsored you and paid for your visa and flight.
Although UK law permits businesses to deduct reasonable costs from employees’ paychecks, no worker may be left with a pay check that is less than the country’s minimum wage of £9.50 per hour. Legal experts have encouraged African health care workers who are being exploited to get a qualified legal expert to represent them. These legal experts can offer guidance on how to get better treatment and protection, as well as assist in presenting evidence against their abusers.