Back in July, the government introduced an immigration cap which limits the number of skilled workers entering the UK from non EU countries to 24,100. They have confirmed that a permanent immigration cap will be in place from next year. However, while this news was initially welcomed by many groups there has since been criticism that it is having an adverse effect on certain sectors. One of those reportedly affected is the social work profession.
Ben Arnold, the chairman of the Association of Social Work Employment Businesses has requested that the Con-Dem coalition relax the strict rules which are currently in place as there is a shortage of social workers in the UK. He believes that cases should be assessed on merit according to the particular needs of each local authority. If an assessment shows that there is a lack of certain skills in any particular local authority area then they should be permitted to recruit workers from non-EU countries. It is hoped that training initiative being run by local government will fill any gaps in the long term but this does not provide a solution in the here and now.
ASWEB are not the only group concerned about the negative effects of the immigration cap. APSCo have also spoken out against it. Their chief executive, Ann Swain, believes that any permanent immigration cap must include intra-company transfers, the rules of which are often exploited in order to introduce foreign nationals into the UK.