UK Careworker shortage, new visa, and risks 英国のケアワーカー不足、新たなビザと課題について

Care worker shortage

<< In 2021/22, there were 165,000 vacant posts (10.7% vacancy) for adult social care (Skills For Care, 2022: 60) >>

From the immediate impacts of Brexit and Covid-19 to the years of austerity, increasing privatisation, and unlivable wages in the sector run for profit, there is a severe shortage of care workers in the UK. Structurally, the gendered division and devaluation of care also continue to perpetuate low pay.*1  Despite the physically demanding nature of work that involves night shifts and live-in care work, over half are on precarious zero-hour contracts and more than 70% of care workers are paid less than the real living wage*2, leading to high vacancy and turnover rates.

<< On average, care workers in the UK are paid less than entry-level workers in supermarkets >>

Health and Care Worker Visa

In February 2022, care workers were added to the UK Immigration Rules’ Shortage Occupation List, relaxing the requirements for care workers to immigrate to the UK under the Health and Care Worker Visa.*4 Requirements for this status include a job offer by a government-licenced sponsor that meets the salary threshold of at least £20,480 per year and proof of English language proficiency *5 before entry.

While certificates and qualifications based on national occupational standards exist for the care sector, unlike in Japan, no national qualifications or examinations are required to work as a care worker *6  in England. Further, under this visa, migrant workers can be joined by their spouses and children, and after 5 years there is a route to settlement in the UK. There are fewer barriers to working as a migrant care worker in terms of linguistic and professional requirements, compared to Japan.

Risks in this visa category

Yet, this visa comes with very serious risks. Migrant care workers in the UK under this visa are dependent on their employers for their status, effectively tying workers to their employers (visa sponsorship). This system restriction functions as a barrier for workers to exercise their rights, similar to the mechanisms of the Technical Internship Training Program (TITP). Both these government schemes have been evidenced to induce high risks of human and labour trafficking, and debt bondage, a form of modern slavery.

An investigation by the Observer (2022) into this UK visa route found care workers from Asia and Africa*7 are charged exorbitant fees as high as £18,000 by recruitment agencies. *8  Such fees are illegal in the UK and against international labour standards (set by ILO), as it creates vulnerabilities for exploitation. Documented cases include workers trapped in debt bondage by having their passports confiscated by their employers until these fees have been “repaid” via their salaries. Even when workers are paid below minimum wage or face workplace abuse, the visa dependency on their employers is a barrier to speaking out, as documented in the TITP.

Calls for changes

In addition to living wages for care workers amidst support for public ownership of the care sector for improving the quality of services, *9 migrant workers and their advocates in the UK have called for

1) a reexamination of this UK visa route that makes workers dependent on their employers,

2) effective oversight of labour violations separated from immigration control, and

3) improved regulation to cut out illegal fee-charging practices by recruitment agencies

(Trust for London, 2022; The Guardian, 2022).

These calls demanding the UK government address its policy-induced vulnerabilities are analogous to what needs addressing by the Japanese government regarding the TITP. As both countries face an increased need for both care and migrant workers, there is a need for fewer barriers and risks to immigration alongside independent oversight and changes to ensure fair workplace conditions in which workers’ rights – living wages, family visas, and routes to settlement, among many others – can be realised.


英国では現在、介護労働者不足が深刻である。それは、イギリスのEU離脱やコロナ禍の影響といった直近のものから、長年の緊縮財政や民営化、そして営利企業が多くを占める介護業界における低賃金といったことが要因である。構造的にみると、ケア労働は歴史的に女性の役割とされ、低評価の対象となっていることも、低賃金が持続する要因となっている。夜勤や住み込みの介護業務など身体的にきつい仕事にもかかわらず、半数以上が不安定な「ゼロ時間契約」*3 で、70%以上の介護労働者の賃金は実際の「生活賃金」より低く、高い欠員率と離職率につながってる。

・2021~22年において、高齢者介護の業界における欠員件数は、計165,000件(欠員率10.7%)である(Skills For Care, 2022: 60)


2022年2月、介護士が英国移民規則の「労働者不足職種リスト」に追加され、介護士が医療・介護従事者ビザで英国に移住するための要件が緩和された。 この資格の要件は、政府認可の事業所から、年間20,480ポンド(約3,215,155円)以上の収入を伴う仕事のオファーを受けることと、入国前の英語能力の保持の証明である。






こうした状況を変えるため、移民労働者や支援者らは、イギリスにおいて介護サービスの再公有化を通じてサービスの質の向上を求める声があがる中、介護労働者に対して生活賃金を保障することを訴え、下記を求めている (Trust for London, 2022; The Guardian, 2022)。

1) 医療・介護従事者ビザ制度において、ビザ発行・更新の面で労働者を雇用者に依存させる仕組みの再検討
2) 介護に従事する移民労働者の労働搾取摘発のため、出入国管理制度から独立した労働基準監督の仕組みの確立
3) 人材紹介会社による違法な手数料徴収を排除するための規制改善




ILO, 2022. “Women in the health and care sector earn 24 per cent less than men”.
Lister, J., 2020, “When Margaret Thatcher privatised social care,” Tribune.
Trust for London, 2022. “The vulnerability of paid migrant live-in care workers in London to modern slavery”.
The Observer, 2022. “Migrant care workers came to help the UK. Now they’re trapped in debt bondage”.
The Guardian, 2022. “Half of care workers in England earn less than entry-level supermarket roles”.
UK Government, 2022. “Health and Care Worker visa”.
We Own It, 2022. “Public Ownership is Popular”.
沼知聡子, 『英国:ゼロ時間契約の増加——柔軟な働き方なのか、雇用主による搾取なのか?』大和総研, 2013.

*1 In the UK, care workers are 80% women. Around the world, care work has been and continues to be disproportionately performed by women’s (unpaid or unequally paid) labour (ILO, 2022).

*2 UK Living Wage is £9.90 an hour, the median pay for adult social carers in 2021/22 was £9.50 (Skills for Care, 2022).
「生活賃金(Living Wage)」とは、満足に日常生活を送る上で必要最低限の賃金のことを指し、イギリスでは時給9.90ポンド(約1,554円)がそれに値すると言われている。一方で、2021年~2022年において介護に従事する労働者の賃金の中央値は9.50ポンド(約1,491円程度)であった。

*3「ゼロ時間契約」とは、イギリスにおいて、雇用主が必要とするときに必要な時間のみに就労する就労形態のことを指し、就労時間が保障されていないため、労働者の権利が制限される等の諸問題が指摘されている(沼知, 2013 ※翻訳者追加)。
*4 In 2022, the majority of immigrants to the care sector were from outside the EU, most commonly from India, the Philippines, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria (Skills for Care, 2022: 95).

*5 Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) B1

*6 Those who provide care for persons requiring support due to disability, illness, injuries, and old age in residential (care or nursing home) or domiciliary care (own homes).

*7 The Observer (2022) found workers from India, the Philippines, Ghana and Zimbabwe were being charged £3,000 to £18,000.
*8 In Japan, persons on the TITP shoulder debt averaging ¥547,788.
*9 64% support social care in public ownership.
現時点で、イギリス市民の64%が介護サービスの公有化を支持しているという。なお、イギリスは1980年代、サッチャー政権下において同サービスの民営化が行われた (Lister, 2020 ※翻訳者追加)。

ソシエタス総合研究所 研究員秋吉 湖音
日本で生まれ、海外で育つ。King’s College London (BA in War Studies & Philosophy) 卒業後、King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowとして、ロンドンで移民達がいかに暮らしを営んでいるかの理解を目的として、特に法的なステータスとジェンダーのインパクトに焦点を当てつつ、Migrant Voices in Londonのプロジェクトを主催。つづいて、オックスフォード大学にて MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies を修める。2021年4月からソシエタス研究所で研究員として勤務。
日本で生まれ、海外で育つ。King’s College London (BA in War Studies & Philosophy) 卒業後、King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowとして、ロンドンで移民達がいかに暮らしを営んでいるかの理解を目的として、特に法的なステータスとジェンダーのインパクトに焦点を当てつつ、Migrant Voices in Londonのプロジェクトを主催。つづいて、オックスフォード大学にて MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies を修める。2021年4月からソシエタス研究所で研究員として勤務。
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