Ireland needs UK social workers and skilled workers on visas

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According to a report published by the Irish Times, Tusla – the Irish Government's Child and Family Agency in Ireland – is looking to recruit social workers from the UK and Canada. Canadian citizens will need work visas. British citizens can work freely in Ireland. The recruitment drive comes as the agency looks to fill 102 job vacancies to tackle a backlog of child protection cases in Ireland.

The latest figures in relation to child protection cases show that 5,987 (dropping from 6,718 as of the end of 2015) children were waiting to be assigned a social worker as of January 2016. 956 of the cases were classified as 'high priority.'

Tusla is attempting to recruit 102 social workers to tackle the backlog of children currently without a social worker. In recent weeks, several cases have highlighted apparent lapses by Tusla when it comes to the care of children that they deem to be high risk. Those lapses have, in part, been attributed to a lack of social workers and work-overloads for current social workers.

Attracting social workers to Ireland

In its attempt to recruit social workers, Tusla's chief executive, Fred McBride, told The Irish Times that the agency had sought graduates from Irish third-level institutions; these are Universities and other institution dealing with post-secondary level education. The agency had also visited universities in Northern Ireland in the hope of attracting social workers who had previously emigrated there in recent years.

A spokeswoman for Tusla said that the agency would be "embarking upon a national recruitment campaign with a specific focus on recruiting from the current graduate pool north and south of the border who will be graduating in 2016. Following on from this programme, feasibility studies are under way with universities in the UK and Canada to assess potential graduate candidate pools."

Cuts to funding for Social work studies at Trinity College, Dublin

Associate professor at the school of social work and policy at Trinity College, Dr Helen Buckley, claims that Irish universities do not produce enough social workers. She attributes this, in part, to a number of third-level institutions being hit by 'deep financial cuts over the past eight years.'

According to The Irish Times report, Trinity College is likely to produce 75 social workers in 2016, while University College Dublin would produce around 50. Buckley said: "Some of these won't go into social work and others will travel abroad. Australia for instance is actively trying to recruit Irish social work graduates as they are trained so well."

"Pay and conditions for social workers in Britain is probably not all that much better, but graduates are attracted nonetheless," she added.

The Irish Times writes that Tusla was in danger of not spending enough time on other methods of safeguarding children because too much time is spent on recruiting social workers. Other strategies, such as working in communities, schools, etc in order to help families and prevent child endangerment in the first place, could have been overlooked.

Currently, Tusla employs 1,413 full-time social workers, an increase of 12 since the end of 2015 and 50 since September of the same year.

Interest in Irish immigration increasing is receiving increasing interest in Ireland as an immigration option. If you have a contract or employment in Ireland, this may be worth considering. For many it is difficult to gain entry or leave to remain in the UK.

In the UK fewer people now qualify for indefinite leave to remain. The UK Government is likely to take even more steps in future to restrict Tier 2 visas. The Tier 2 work visa is one of the few options left for work-based entry to the UK.

If you are a highly skilled worker with good qualifications and experience then we may be able to come up with an immigration route for Ireland.

For more information on immigration to Ireland, call the London office on 0344 991 9222.