Boris Johnson has been accused of hypocrisy over new immigration laws that will bar the type of low-paid migrant care workers who have safeguarded the elderly during the coronavirus crisis.
一本道理不卡一二三区Labour and a former Conservative immigration minister Caroline Nokes both urged the Government to adopt a more “nuanced” and “intelligent” approach to such workers rather than branding them as unskilled.
一本道理不卡一二三区They were backed by an ICM poll which showed more than six in ten members of the public said they valued care workers and other low-paid staff more since the Coronavirus outbreak - and believed the Government should make exemptions to allow them into the UK after Brexit.
The disclosures came as MPs debated the Government new immigration Bill which will end free movement from EU from January 1 next year, at the end of this year’s transition period.
一本道理不卡一二三区It will introduce a points-based system that will expand the number of skilled workers who can come from the EU and the rest of the world but ends migration to the UK by unskilled workers.
The system sets a salary threshold of £25,600 a year below which migrants can only earn extra points the may need if they are in shortage areas and earn over a minimum of £20,480, which excludes most care workers, shop workers, NHS ancillary staff and construction workers.
一本道理不卡一二三区Nick Thomas-Symonds, shadow home secretary, said: “It is rank hypocrisy towards our NHS and care workers – over 180,000 in England and Wales alone – to stand and clap for them on a Thursday night, and then tell them that they are not welcome in the UK on a Monday.
He said the Bill would make workers in the NHS and the care sector feel unwelcome in this country, as well as labelling retail workers, carers, local government workers, refuse collectors, and many more as 'low skilled'.
一本道理不卡一二三区“These are the very same workers who have been keeping this country running throughout the crisis. This Bill creates a threat to our national interest.
“It risks the NHS not being able to fill the desperately needed roles for trained nurses and care home workers at the very moment when we rely on the NHS most.”
Ms Nokes said she supported ending freedom of movement by January 1st next year to fulfil the majority vote in the 2016 referendum but urged the Government to proceed with caution and a phased approach.
She said that even with the scale of unemployment anticipated after the coronavirus crisis, there was no guarantee that British workers would fill the gaps left by so-called unskilled staff in fields such as social care.
Earlier she also cautioned: “It is a mistake to refer to people who are working in the care industry, construction, road haulage, people who are stacking those supermarket shelves who we have been so reliant on over the past six weeks to feed ourselves to call them unskilled.
“I think it is always a mistake to call them unskilled. They may not have graduate qualifications, they may not be earning over 25 thousand pounds a year, that does not mean they are unskilled.”
一本道理不卡一二三区Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said the Government had moved to support foreign health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic by extending their visas and waiving the health surcharge. This included doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists.
一本道理不卡一二三区She said the Government was working on long-term plans to tackle social care, which had already received an extra £1.5 billion.
However, she warned that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said the immigration system was not the sole solution to problems in social care.
The ICM poll found 61 per cent of the public believed there should be exceptions for care workers and nurses from any blanket salary threshold.
Sunder Katwala, Director of thinktank British Future, which commissioned the poll, said: “The Government will need to strike the right balance too – and accept that people’s value isn’t determined by their salary level.”