Scottish charities have called upon Home Secretary Priti Patel to include social care staff in plans to review visa fees for foreign workers
Scottish charities have called for visa fees for social care workers to be scrapped.
The UK Government announced recently it is reviewing visa surcharges for healthcare workers who have come to the UK and are fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
And a letter – sent by Camphill Scotland and signed by CCPS, the ALLIANCE, Scottish Care and Volunteer Scotland - has called upon Home Secretary Priti Patel to include social care workers and volunteers in the review.
The charities argue that high visa fees, which are due to rise to £624 next year, will put off foreign workers from taking up vital roles.
The letter said: “For Camphill Scotland in particular, international volunteering is a very important issue. Camphill communities in Scotland look after around 600 people with learning disabilities and other support needs. There are currently around 251 international volunteers in Scotland living in Camphill communities, many of whom are young students who will volunteer within their host Camphill community for about a year.
“We note that in October 2020 the immigration health surcharge is due to increase to £624, and to include all EU citizens coming to the UK from 2021. UK visa fees are already high for young people wishing to join Camphill communities, often on gap years between school and university to gain experience within social care. Indeed, the surcharge is already a deterrent to volunteers wishing to join Camphill communities, and our concern is that the increased surcharge will mean far fewer young people will be able to afford the costs of coming to the UK to volunteer adding to our residents’ quality of life on a daily basis.”
A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are hugely grateful for the contributions social care workers make, particularly in these challenging times.
“The government is supporting the sector in a number of different ways, including providing additional funding for adult and children’s social care. We will continue to work to see how best we can support social care workers.
“Income from the immigration health surcharge goes directly back into the NHS to help save lives.”