Perthshire OAP struggling for care after Home Office snubs visas for 14 overseas workers

A Perthshire man is struggling for care after the Home Office refused to allow a local firm to continue employing foreign workers.

Kippen Care Services, based in the Fair City, had its application to sponsor 14 overseas workers snubbed, meaning it can no longer continue their employment.

The sudden loss of staff has forced the company to reduce the service it can provide for many locals in need of care. The council reduced or withdrew their care package completely.

As a result, Scone resident Colin Howe will no longer receive visits from a carer in the morning, leaving him unable to shower or dress until one can visit at midday.

The 75-year-old’s wife, Wendy, a former nurse, told The Courier she fears the UK Government policy will hit the NHS because hospitals struggle to discharge people home without appropriate social care in place.

Wendy Howe fears the wider impact beyond her husband. Image: Steve Brown/DC Thomson.

Ms Howe said: “Kippen has provided care in a manner that fitted with my husband’s needs and allowed him to have a good quality of life within the constraints of his illness, but with the new timetable that’s been suggested, he would not shower or dress until a carer arrives at midday, never mind the fact that all morning activities would be stopped.

“With the continued demand on care services with an ageing population, why is the government denying these valuable overseas workers their visas?

“Scotland will lose these valuable, trained people who already have the skills and want to work.”

Local MP Pete Wishart fears the UK Government crackdown on visas for foreign care workers will prompt an exodus of care staff nationwide.

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The government recently announced a ban on care workers for overseas bringing dependents with them if they move to the UK.

Mr Wishart said: “There can be no doubt that the UK Government is using this bogus reasoning to mask the fact that they are desperately trying to bring immigration numbers down, at whatever cost, in order to appease their voter base in advance of the looming general election.

Perthshire MP Pete Wishart
Perthshire MP Pete Wishart MP. Image: Mhairi Edwards/DC Thomson.

“The care sector is already on its knees due to acute staffing shortages, largely due to Brexit and years of systemic underfunding of the NHS, and we know that overseas staff play a critical role in helping to fill those shortages.

“Against this backdrop, refusing these visas amounts to a calculated assault on our vulnerable care sector whilst it grapples with unprecedented pressures, all in the name of political gain.”

A Home Office spokesman told The Courier that it made decisions based on “evidence”.

Home Office response rubbished

“Where there are concerns about a sponsor’s ability to provide guaranteed work, it is only right that an application is rejected to safeguard migrant welfare,” the spokesman said.

“The UK Government is committed to an adult social care workforce where people feel supported, recognised and there are opportunities to develop and progress.”

But Mr Wishart rubbished this response, pointing out that Kippen had  provided “ample evidence” to show they offer staff full-time contracts, and that there is a total of over 1,800 hours in unmet care need across Perth and Kinross.

Kippen says around a third of its workforce are from overseas, and a considerable number have visas set to expire in May.

If their applications for renewal are refused, the firm fear the situation for locals dependent on their support will only worsen.

Arthur McLean, director of Kippen Care Services, said: “Unfortunately, the staff for whom Kippen sought certificates of sponsorship have been forced to seek alternative employment, significantly impacting the residents of Perth and Kinross who have lost their dedicated carers.

“The local authority is now struggling to find alternative care providers with the capacity to accommodate these stranded care packages.

“This situation is expected to worsen as more migrant staff are compelled to leave Kippen’s employment as they approach the expiry date of their visas.”

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