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Brexit creates uncertainty for EU care workers in Scotland

Managers worried about recruitment and retention

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Nearly 10,000 EU nationals working in Scottish social care face an uncertain future, a new report* reveals.

The Ipsos Mori report, commissioned by the Scottish government, finds EU nationals in Scotland’s adult social care and childcare are considered highly qualified, committed to caring and have a willingness to “go the extra mile”, yet they remain uncertain about the implications of Brexit.

Managers of care services interviewed for the study said the UK’s decision to leave the EU meant many were worried about future recruitment and retention problems. They also felt they lacked information on Brexit’s potential impacts and how to help workers and services plan. All EU workers interviewed wanted to stay in Scotland, but were confused about eligibility for temporary residency status.

Public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “European citizens make a fantastic contribution to our care services, through their knowledge and dedicated hard work in both adult social care and childcare. This report makes clear that we need to do all we can to help these almost 10,000 caring professionals to stay in Scotland and plan for Brexit. It would be unacceptable if years of work to make care an attractive and rewarding career for people from both Scotland and abroad was to be damaged by Brexit.”

Constitutional relations secretary Michael Russell said: “This report is yet another illustration of the lack of appreciation the UK government has about the impact of Brexit on both our public services and the highly-skilled and hard-working EU nationals who help deliver them. Added to this is the clear confusion among managers and workers from European nations about the future, again exposing Westminster’s lack of forethought and planning. I strongly urge the UK government to act to provide clarity to all those facing uncertain futures, not least the almost 10,000 delivering care services to the people of Scotland.”

EU nationals make up 5.6% of Scotland’s adult social care and childcare workforce, an estimated 9,830 people. Prevalence varies by sub-sector, from 0.3% for child-minding services to 16.5% for nurse agencies.

*The Contribution of Non-UK EU Workers in the Social Care Workforce in Scotland. Research study by Ipsos MORI for the Scottish government, June 2018.

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