According to a new report, the bulk of care workers sponsored for skilled work visas in the UK in 2022 were from non-EU nations, with India leading the pack and only 1% from EU countries.
According to a report from the University of Oxford’s Migration Observatory, the country’s immigration system brought an unprecedented number of overseas employees into the health and care industry in 2022-3.
According to the report, India was the top country of nationality for newly-hired overseas doctors (20%) and nurses (46%), followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
India (33 percent) was also among top countries of citizenship for workers using Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) in 2022, followed by Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
In the face of workforce shortages, the recruitment of non-EU citizens on skilled work visas in the health and care industry has increased since 2017, with a particularly strong increase in 2021 and 2022.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), vacancies in the UK’s health and social work sector peaked at 217,000 from July to September 2022 before declining somewhat in late 2022 and early 2023. Following this, in the fiscal year ending March 2023, the UK immigration system admitted an unprecedented amount of overseas health and care professionals.
In the year to March, 57,700 care workers received skilled work visas, according to the report.
After roughly 58,000 visas were awarded for the industry last year, the study, commissioned by the employment organisation ReWAGE, warned that the UK risked becoming overly reliant on international care workers. Official data put the total number of people moving to the UK in 2022 at 606,000, up from 488,000 the previous year.
“Health and care employers have benefited a lot from international recruitment. But relying this much on overseas recruits also brings risks,” Dr Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory, was cited as saying in The Guardian.
Dr Sumption said care workers on temporary visas are vulnerable to exploitation and “the rapid growth in overseas recruitments makes monitoring pay and conditions a real challenge”.
The report comes with consultant doctors in Britain set to go on strike July 20 and 21 for better pay.