Commenting on remarks made by immigration minister Robert Jenrick that the government might cap the number of overseas health and care workers able to come to the UK and prevent them from bringing any family with them, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:
“For too long, the government has sat back and watched as the NHS and social care grapple with a monumental staffing crisis. Both sectors are many thousands of staff short, social care desperately so.
“Migrant workers are propping up a crumbling care system that the government has refused to fund properly.
“Anyone calling for a cap on numbers or other restrictions on the essential workers the country relies upon has no understanding of the healthcare system, and the pressures it faces.
“Ministers playing to the gallery and demonising migrant workers offer nothing to the debate about how to fix social care. The simple truth is that the system would collapse without overseas workers. And with language like this being bandied about, many will be wishing they’d never come.
“As in so many other areas, the country is crying out for the government to start tackling the big issues. Unfortunately, yet again, we have ministers seeking scapegoats instead of solutions.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.