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28 Nov 2023


Expendable labour: the exploitation of migrant care workers

See all tags Allegations


Adult social care is facing a chronic staffing crisis, with the number of vacancies currently 152,000 in England.

Underfunding, low wages and poor working conditions are to blame for employees leaving for jobs in other sectors such as retail and hospitality.

To overcome these dire staff shortages, employers are increasingly recruiting care workers from overseas including from India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe. These employees make up 16% of the social care workforce in England, according to Skills for Care.

These workers come to the UK in the belief that they will have a secure job, with a reputable employer, who has officially sponsored them to be here...

In a recent case, more than 100 migrant care staff in Cambridgeshire were made redundant when their employer Beaumont Healthcare handed back its contract to the council.

Some of the staff were sacked on the spot in October this year and could face deportation unless they find new sponsors.

One of these former Beaumont employees, who came to the UK from the Philippines, says: “I’m really worried about the job situation. I came here because I was needed. Now that I need help, I’m getting nothing.”

Around 15 migrant care staff employed by Lighthouse Professional Care found themselves in a similar situation when Wiltshire Council withdrew its contract in July this year.

Since then, the workers have been attempting to find new jobs, but are now nearing the 60-day deadline to obtain new sponsors and visas.