“We might miss the boat” on migrant workers: Aged Care Workforce Industry Council

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The Not For Profit Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has held talks with the Federal Departments of Health and Home Affairs about an agreement to recruit aged care workers from countries like India and the Philippines as concerns about workforce shortages in the sector continue.

Despite Registered Nurse (Aged Care) being on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List for at least 18 months, Australia needs 43,000 aged care workers to meet promised new minimum staffing levels, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) stated on Tuesday.

Yet as we also report in this issue, the sector is “likely” to be losing around 65,000 workers each year.

ACWIC Chief Executive Louise O’Neill (pictured) said it had to be made easier for overseas migrants to work in Australia.

“People are ready to go and, if we don’t get in early, we might miss the boat and other countries like the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand will get access to these workers,” she told Nine Entertainment.

She will raise the staffing shortage in a meeting with Aged Care Assistant Minister Ged Kearney next week.

The Labor Government has committed to mandating a Registered Nurse in every aged care home 24/7 by next July on top of the Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations for a mandatory average 200 direct care minutes per resident per day from October 2023, including 40 minutes with a Registered Nurse.

This figure is set to increase to 215 care minutes a day, including 44 minutes with a Registered Nurse, from October 2024.