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Migrant staff concession 'insufficient'

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A government concession to allow senior social workers from outside the EU to fill British vacancies does not go far enough, the Local Government Association has claimed.

The Home Office announced social workers will be added to the ‘shortage occupation list’ of jobs open to migrants, pending a review finishing next March.

However, an LGA spokesman claimed it was lower-skilled care workers that social care services required.

“The real problem is with the continued suspension of tier three, or so called ‘unskilled’ workers,” he said.

“This blocks the recruitment of social care workers, and non-EU workers in agriculture and the hospitality industry, who make a major contribution to local economies.”

Social workers had been left off the original list published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) after evidence backing up the shortage in social workers was not submitted in time (LGC - 18/09/08).

The government has now asked the MAC to examine by March whether social workers, along with senior care workers and town planners, should be permanently added to the list.

A Home Office spokeswoman said ministers were confident the MAC would add social workers to the list.

Sarah Pickup, director of adult services at Hertfordshire CC , agreed recruiting low-paid care workers was the real issue. “You can’t simply assume that because there’s a recession, enough resident workers will be willing to work for lower salaries,” she said.

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