Workforce nationality figures

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The impact of the EU referendum on the adult social care sector

Skills for Care estimates that there were 1.35 million jobs in local authority and independent sector adult social care employers.

Overall there were around 233,000 jobs in adult social care held by people with a non-British nationality (104,000 EU; 129,000 non-EU).

  • Around 83% of the adult social care workforce were British.
  • 7% (104,000 jobs) had an EU nationality and 10% (129,000 jobs) had a non-EU nationality.
  • Therefore, on average, the adult social care sector had a greater reliance on non-EU than EU workers.
  • The proportion of the adult social care workforce with a British nationality has been consistent over the past six years (from 2012/13 to 2017/18), rising one percentage point over the period. The proportion of EU (non-British) workers has risen three percentage points and non-EU workers has fallen three percentage points over the period.

EU citizens

The result of the EU referendum appears, so far, to have had little effect with the number of EU nationals continuing to increase and the number of non-EU nationals decreasing.  

According to the Government’s “EU Settlement Scheme: statement of intent”, the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will not change until after 31st December 2020. After this point, EU citizens will have until June 2021 to hold or be in the process of applying for UK immigration status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

  • EU citizens and their family members who, by 31st December 2020, have been continuously residing in the UK for five years will be eligible for ‘settled status’, enabling them to stay indefinitely.
  • EU citizens and their family members who arrive by 31st December 2020 but will not yet have been continuously residing in the UK for five years will be eligible for ‘pre-settled status’, enabling them to stay until they have reached the five-year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.

Therefore, if the rules set out in the statement of intent are finalised (this was not guaranteed at the time of writing), then all workers with an EU nationality currently working in adult social care will be allowed, if they choose, to continue to work in the UK provided that they remain living in the UK and do not have any criminal convictions. As will any people with an EU nationality who move to the UK between now and December 2020.

At the time of writing, it was still unclear how immigration will work after the UK leaves the EU. Depending on the rules, there is still a risk in terms of workforce supply depending on what restrictions are in place.

The Cavendish Coalition

Skills for Care is a member of the Cavendish Coalition.  The coalition is a group of 35 social care and health organisations working to ensure the system is properly staffed after the UK leaves the EU, has set out what the Government needs to focus on during EU withdrawal negotiations to maintain safe, high quality health and social care services.

The Cavendish Coalition welcome the ‘EU Settlement Scheme statement of intent’ in terms of providing clarity for people from the EU currently working in health and social care.

The Cavendish Coalition believes it is absolutely critical that the Government also takes all possible measures to safeguard the future supply of health and social care workers needed to continue delivering safe, high quality care. The Coalition is ready and available to support the Government in a way which allows it to plan a future immigration system which assesses skill levels based on public service value, and ensures excellent, continuing care to communities, patients and residents.

Related reports

  • Regional level workforce nationality data is available in Chapter four of the relevant regional report
  • There is national information in Chapter Four of the 'State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report'
  • Looking for something specific on workforce nationality? Contact us