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Minister Mary Butler launching the report today.

Employment permits for 1,000 home care workers to be made available to tackle recruitment crisis

The move was recommended in a report by the strategic workforce advisory group on home carers and nursing home healthcare assistants.

EMPLOYMENT PERMITS FOR 1,000 home care workers are to be made available in an effort to address the national recruitment crisis in the sector. 

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler and Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English made the announcement today at the launch of the report of the strategic workforce advisory group on home carers and nursing home healthcare assistants.

The report makes 16 wide-ranging recommendations to address the challenges in publicly and privately provided carer roles in home support and nursing homes.

One of the recommendations is that home-support workers should be removed from the ineligible occupations list, enabling the employment of non-EU citizens as home-support workers in Ireland when regulations have been introduced.

The employment permits will be made available to non-EU nationals from January 2023. The permits will enable them to work in Ireland in the home care sector in full-time positions with a minimum salary of €27,000 per year and a minimum continuous shift-length of four hours per working day. 

“This will ensure good quality employment for care workers who come to Ireland while at the same time alleviating our national recruitment crisis,” Minister English said.

The report also recommends that all private-sector and voluntary providers should commit to paying home-support workers and healthcare assistants a minimum wage of €12.90 an hour as well as travel expenses.

It also recommends that a national campaign be carried out to raise the profile and promote the training opportunities available for a career as a healthcare assistant and home-support worker. 

The advisory group also recommends that a review of public employment services with a view to further increasing the number of jobseekers who become healthcare assistants or home-support workers.

Welcoming the report, both ministers strongly endorsed all of the recommendations and committed to their full implementation as a priority.

“All care workers working in home support and long-term residential care for older people should receive fair pay and conditions and have the opportunity to progress in their careers,” Butler said.

“We need to show home support workers and healthcare assistants that we value the important work they do and make it a viable career option.

“We need to urgently address the shortage of care workers in Ireland. In conjunction with wider sectoral reforms which are in train, implementation of the Group’s recommendations will have a real and lasting impact on addressing these workforce challenges.”

English said that the current shortage of care workers is a significant issue that needs to be addressed “as a matter of urgency”.

“We therefore need to simultaneously tackle the challenges that are impeding recruitment at national level and facilitate international recruitment in the shorter term. I hope that the implementation of the advisory group’s recommendations will significantly improve the pay and conditions of care workers in Ireland and make it a more attractive and sustainable career.”

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