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Immigrants: Carers

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to change the minimum salary regime for senior carer work permit renewals; and if she will make a statement. (179782)

Work permit salary guidance for all occupations is kept continuously under review, and is updated in line with the latest and most robust salary data available from industry. Salary guidance for senior care workers is no exception.

The current rate is derived from Skills for Care’s National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC), which is the most comprehensive salary data we have identified for this sector.

Work permit applications, including extensions, are assessed against the going rate at the time that the application is made. It has always been a requirement, for any job, that work permit holders must be paid at least equal to the going rate that would normally attract a suitably skilled resident worker. It is essential that we prevent skilled migrants from being exploited as a source of cheap labour, and salaries for skilled resident workers from being undercut.

As part of the transitional measures we are putting in place for existing work permit holders, an exceptional in-country extension may be granted for a maximum of 12 months for those senior care workers who have had work permits approved prior to 31 December 2003. The requirement for employers to pay the current going rate will be exceptionally waived, providing the salary is at least equal to that on the previous work permit approval.

This is part of a package of transitional measures we have introduced to assist the sector in maintaining continuity of care whilst it adapts its staff recruitment and retention practices to more effectively target the resident work force.