Our client is a care home based in Wales with 4 locations to take care of recently discharged elderly patients.
As you may be aware, care homes have long struggled with recruitment for various reasons. This is especially so with Brexit, as care homes now rely on the settled workforce. The Home Office has relaxed the requirements for sponsorship of care home workers whereby Senior Care Assistants/ Senior Carers are now eligible for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route.
Our client is working closely with the NHS and local council to provide individuals with extensive healthcare and support services. The arrangement they have in place is known as ‘step down beds’, i.e. hospital patients transitioning from full hospital care to residential care before they can go home. The lack of staff meant that the care home had to reduce the places they could offer, potentially affecting the quality of care they could provide to the individuals in need.
How A Y & J helped the Care Home to Obtain a Sponsor Licence
We promptly prepared and submitted the application with the Director of the Care Home. However, the Home Office is still only accepting 10 priority service requests per day for licence applications, and most other applications are taking at least 7 weeks to process.
Having already had to reduce their capacity to provide step down beds to an individual in need before the submission due to the lack of staff, our client informed us that they might have to reduce further their capacity, which in turn will impact the local hospital if they cannot hire any new employees any time soon. We wrote to the Home Office on the client’s behalf and drafted follow-up letters for them to explain the severity and urgency of the delay, hoping the application would be escalated.
Although we did not receive any response from the Home Office regarding the escalation requests, we were soon informed by the Director that the licence had been granted. We are now in the process of submitting the visa application for the individual they have identified to come to the UK as a Senior Care Assistant, with the view of submitting at least 7 more applications soon.
We recently attended a conference with the Immigration Law Practitioners Association, where a few practitioners brought up concerns regarding the sponsorship of Senior Carers/ Assistants. We were told that they were experiencing unexplained delays in the Defined CoS requests stage, where a request was delayed for up to 7 weeks before a decision was received. The Home Office was also not able to explain why there is such a delay; however, we were warned by other firms to expect this when sponsoring Senior Care Assistants.
For this particular client, we were able to obtain a Defined CoS within 1 working day. However, please note that it appears any particular timeframe does not bind the Home Office to process Defined CoS requests if they asked for additional information/ documents and have in the past taken more than 5 weeks to reach a decision. Therefore, please ensure this timeframe is taken into account when you recruit from overseas as this is a factor that only the Home Office can manage.