Recent government updates put nurses and senior carers on the national occupations’ shortage list, allowing care homes to hire skilled staff from as far afield as India and The Philippines.
Yet this demand has encouraged bogus recruitment agents to exploit and profiteer from care workers abroad who are desperate to work in the UK. This ultimately harms the care industry and patients alike.
As care work recruitment specialists, Craig reveals these agents have even offered his company what are essentially bribes, to place candidates into unsuitable jobs – in exchange for a cut of the money the care worker paid in hope of building a better life in the UK.
But in an arrangement like this, Craig argues the candidate often feels exploited, unhappy in an unsuitable job, with little loyalty to their employer. Likewise, when they inevitably resign, the care home is back where they began – understaffed with a gap in their rota. Ultimately, everyone loses except the bogus agent, and patient care suffers.
Craig thinks the care industry now faces a moral choice. If an agent offers candidates for free, be wary – ask how they’ve been sourced. Ask what fees are being paid and by whom – are they fair and justifiable? Look into how individuals are vetted, matched to roles, and whether they’re settled comfortably into UK life.
Fundamentally, Craig believes this is about respect for fellow human beings with aspirations, families, and a willingness to leave everything behind, so they can contribute to the value of our care sector.
To help tackle the issue, Craig visited India where he found widespread exploitation and profiteering. So, instead of entering into partnership with agents who don’t share Avanta Care’s ethics, he set up their own recruitment base employing fairly paid, local staff, who recruit and train healthcare workers from the country.
These candidates are then matched with appropriate care jobs in the UK, and only pay fees that cover costs like visas, identity checks and professional accreditation. The UK care home then pays Avanta Care a fair fee for a committed employee, yet saves up to £15,000 over the course of that employment, compared to recruiting nationally.
This issue of ethics is part of a wider moral debate about how we, as a society, reward key workers, especially after their service during the Coronavirus pandemic.
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