Consequential etc provision

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 26th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration 2:15 pm, 26th February 2019

I am unsurprised that the hon. Gentleman has chosen to put that on the record. It is fair to say that there is an enormous amount of work going on in the Department of Health and Social Care. I am very fortunate that the Minister for Care, my hon. Friend Caroline Dinenage, has been engaging with me repeatedly on this issue. She is a doughty champion for ensuring that we get the right policies in place. I have no doubt that during the next 12 months she will be continuing to press me on the point that both our Departments—and as my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford mentioned, the Department for Work and Pensions—need to make sure that we have a joined-up approach on this matter.

I know, and the Government know, that we need to redouble our efforts to promote jobs and careers in social care to the domestic workforce. That is why the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has made improving the working lives of the millions of people who work in social care one of his top priorities and why, on 12 February, he launched a national recruitment campaign for social care. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the variety of rewarding job opportunities in social care, improve people’s perceptions of working in the sector and increase consideration and applications from individuals with the right values who are looking for a new challenge.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all sectors are catered for in a future system, so that the UK remains competitive and an attractive place to work for skilled individuals. However, it is important that we consider carefully the impact on the economy, including the impact of any exemption from the eventual minimum salary threshold, and ensure that we strike the right balance in the system. It must protect migrant workers and prevent undercutting of the resident workforce; we must not support employment practices that drive down wages in an occupation or sector, perpetuating low pay.

In full recognition that employers will need time to adjust to the future system, the White Paper also proposes a transitional measure: a time-limited route for temporary short-term workers, which will be open to all skill levels and, initially, to low-risk countries, and will be reviewed by 2025. We expect individuals, including personal care assistants who fall below the requirements of the skilled worker route, to be able to take advantage of the benefits that the route offers.