Shelagh Fogarty grills Tory MP on care workers' exclusion from post-Brexit "health visas"

13 July 2020, 16:38 | Updated: 13 July 2020, 16:40

By Seán Hickey

Shelagh Fogarty cornered this MP when he wouldn't explain government policy for care workers, after they were excluded from post-Brexit immigration plans.

Home Secretary Priti Patel today announced the UK's post-Brexit plans to give "health visas" to immigrants working in the health service, but social care workers are to be left out of such plans in a bid to fill the sector with people already living in the UK.

Robert Courts is the Conservative MP for Witney and West Oxfordshire and joined Shelagh Fogarty to discuss the news. She wondered "what's going to be the appeal for all these young British people" that will be aimed at being recruited in the social care sector.

The Tory MP told her that the government has seen through the coronavirus crisis the value of the work care workers do and how under pressure the industry is, which is why the government want to fill the sector with people currently living here.

"It's not news that it's under pressure, it's not news that it's an unresolved issue" Shelagh pointed out. She wanted to know why the government are "separating it off away from the rest" in their exclusion from health visas.

Mr Courts said that "we want to see employers investing in our people" and building a stronger workforce with people that are already in the UK.

"We want to recognise there has been a massive contribution to our health sector by people that have come here from abroad" the MP said, "we'd like that to continue."

"But not in the social care sector," Shelagh quipped.

Social care workers will not be able to come to the UK on "health visas" post-Brexit
Social care workers will not be able to come to the UK on "health visas" post-Brexit. Picture: PA

"Everything thats done in the NHS is every bit as important as everything that's done in social care" Shelagh argued, wondering why the social care sector is being treated differently.

"In social care if you're foreign, you don't get a particular series of measures and facilitation that you get in the health service." She said.

"I don't understand why."

Mr Courts said that the government view is that "employers should be looking to increase the skills and to increase the training of the workforce they already have." Which is why social care, an under pressure industry is to be filled with people currently in the UK rather than looking further afield.

"You will be seeing more details of the policy being rolled out in future" he assured Shelagh, who was disappointed by not being told how the government will strategise the future of the social care sector post-Brexit.

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