South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper condemns the UK Government Home Secretary’s new Visa Scheme which excludes frontline carers from the new points-based scheme which is due to commence in January. Ms Harper says it could lead to a shortage of staff in care homes and hospitals which would significantly undermine efforts to tackle an expected second wave of COVID-19.


Emma Harper generic Image

Ms Harper said: “Scientists are predicting a second wave of the virus over the winter and we know that we will need to recruit staff into the care home and care at home sectors to deal with increased numbers of people requiring care.

“Recruitment in to Care professions are already a challenge in Scotland and the changes to the immigration system, created by the UK Government’s, Priti Patel MP, which come into effect on 1 January, means that these essential frontline care workers are excluded, as are many cleaners, porters and support staff who also help keep our health and care sectors running smoothly. 

“If this system had come into effect before the Coronavirus pandemic is over, we would be facing a real crisis in the battle against the virus.  The fact that the changes will come into effect when we expect to be in the middle of a second wave means we will be unable to recruit the staff we need and will place many lives in danger.”

“I am really concerned that this will cause recruitment challenges for many of our 30 Care Homes and Care at Home providers across Dumfries and Galloway and I have written to D&G Council to seek clarity on how this points-based approach will negatively affect care across our region.

Ms Harper added: “The UK Government’s new immigration policy plans fail to address Scotland’s distinct demographic and economic needs, and completely disregard key sectors that we have relied upon during this health pandemic, including our valued social care workers.

“Despite repeated warnings from the Scottish Government, experts, businesses and representative organisations about the damage their plans would inflict on Scotland, the UK Government has ignored the evidence and plans to push ahead regardless.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped our economy and it is vital that any future immigration system adequately addresses our future needs as a society. As we face the biggest economic crisis in decades, I urge the UK Government to meet with Devolved Administrations to ensure their proposals can be adapted to work for us all.”