On Friday 8 September, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued its latest update on the COVID-19 BA.2.86 variant. We understand that for many in the sector, press interest and speculation about this new variant is concerning.

We recognise the immense efforts that all those working in adult social care have made over recent years and want to reassure you that we will continue to ensure measures are risk-based and proportionate. Vaccinations, COVID-19 treatments, and following IPC guidance remain the best way to help protect against COVID-19 across adult social care.

The UKHSA has confirmed in its technical briefing, 34 confirmed cases of BA.2.86 have been identified in England as of 4 September 2023. Of these, five were hospitalised and no deaths due to COVID-19 have been reported amongst these cases. The cases include an outbreak in a care home which were initially identified by following current LFD outbreak guidance, with PCR testing of staff and residents after this was escalated to the local health protection team. The majority of residents and all staff have now recovered.

UKHSA note that while this means there is a degree of community transmission, it is too early to draw conclusions on the transmissibility, severity, or immune escape properties of the virus. UKHSA are monitoring the situation closely and we will keep you updated.

In the meantime, there are a number of steps that providers can continue to take;

Encourage staff and service users to take up the latest COVID-19 and flu vaccinations when offered

The government had already taken the precautionary step of bringing forward the NHS’s Autumn/Winter vaccination programme, as this is the best way to boost the immunity of those most vulnerable to coronavirus. Vaccination teams are now contacting providers and people who are homebound to arrange visits.

Staff are encouraged to book their vaccinations as early as possible via the Local Booking Services from 11 September, and the National Booking Service (NBS) from 18 September. Appointments can also be booked via the NHS App, or through 119.

Ensure PPE is available to be used in line with risk assessments

Providers should continue to use PPE where appropriate and ensure this is available for staff. Care workers do not routinely need to wear a face mask; however, they should be worn if:

  • A person being cared for is suspected or known to have COVID-19.
  • If a care recipient would prefer staff to where a mask while providing care.  

We hope this update is helpful and thank you again for all your work to protect people across adult social care.

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Skilled Workers Update


There are some important changes announced for Skilled Worker visa route in the Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules 17 July 2023.

In a nutshell, the changes to skilled worker visa focus on two main topics, i.e. new jobs have been added to Shortage Occupation List and restrictions on switching from student visa to skilled worker, other sponsored work visas and other work visas before completion of the course.

You may also find it useful to read our other blog on Changes to Skilled Worker visa in April 2023. Those were significant amendments, including increase to minimum salary and hourly rates.


It is important to note that changes relating to dependants of student visa holders and switching from student visa will come into effect at 1500 on 17 July 2023, and therefore depart from the usual convention that changes to the Immigration Rules come into force no earlier than 21 days after their being laid in Parliament.

The remaining changes to skilled worker visa and Shortage Occupation List will come into force on 7 August 2023 (7/08/2023).


The Shortage Occupation List offers lower salary requirements and lower visa application fees for jobs identified as being in shortage and where immigration is a sensible part of addressing that shortage. Following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), all jobs in the following occupations in construction are being added to the list:

• 5312 Bricklayers and masons

• 5313 Roofers, roof tilers and slaters

• 5315 Carpenters and joiners

• 5319 Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified

• 5321 Plasterers

Following a further recommendation by the MAC, dryliners are being reclassified to the same occupation code as plasterers, making the job eligible to be sponsored for the Skilled Worker route and included on the Shortage Occupation List.


To support the fishing industry in becoming fully compliant with the immigration system following the implementation of Section 43 of the Nationality and Borders Act 20224th, jobs in the fishing industry in the following occupations are also being added to the Shortage Occupation List:

• 5119 Agriculture and fishing trades not elsewhere classified

• 9119 Fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations not elsewhere classified.


For consistency with Temporary Work routes, a specific requirement is being added that applicants must genuinely intend to undertake their sponsored job, and not intend to work in breach of their conditions. This builds on requirements already in the Rules. You may read our article on genuine vacancy test.  

The newly added rule states that applicant must: (a) genuinely intend, and be able, to undertake the role for which they are being sponsored; and (b) not intend to undertake employment other than in the role for which they are being sponsored, or as otherwise permitted.


The changes to student visa route to limit net migration were announced on 23 May 2023. They are now being included in the immigration rules by the Statement of Changes 17 July 2023. Following changes are being made to the student route in response to the Government’s commitment to reduce net migration:

• Removing the right for international students to bring dependants unless they are on postgraduate courses currently designated as research programmes; and

• Removing the ability for international students to switch out of the student route into work routes before their studies have been completed (switching restrictions).

The switching restrictions are introduced to ensure that students are generally not switching incountry to another route until they have completed their courses. Some students abandoned their courses to apply for skilled worker or other work visas before completing their studies. This is no longer permitted under the new immigration rules.

Students on courses at degree level or above will be able to apply for skilled worker visa, other sponsored work visas or any other work visas before course completion, as long as their employment start date is not before their course completion. Those studying towards PhDs will be able to switch after 24 months’ study.

Under the new rules students can only switch to work visa after completion of the course or when studying a full-time course of study leading to the award of a PhD with a higher education provider which has a track record of compliance and have completed at least 24 months of study on that course. Work visas include skilled worker and global business mobility visas and all the other work visas, such as Ancestry visa, Global Talent visa, Innovator Founder, Scale Up, High Potential Individual, Minister of Religion.


A change is being made for applicants who are sponsored for General Practitioner (GP) specialty training. The change means they will be granted permission until 4 months after the end date of their certificate of sponsorship, instead of the usual 14 days. This is because, unlike other applicants who have qualified in the UK, they cannot benefit from the Graduate route and may need additional time to find employment with a GP practice that is a licensed sponsor. A further change is being made to allow them to undertake supplementary employment during this period.

A minor change to Appendix Skilled Occupations is being made to correct an error in the salary scales for specialty registrars in Scotland.

Find out more on Changes to Skilled Worker visa announced 17 July 2023 – Shortage Occupation List update and Student switching restricted – Thaxted Legal August 24, 2023

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The Art of Training


At ERM Ltd our training Facility is a hub for exceptional cadres of certified training areas such as Mandatory, complex/Special care, Mental Health, and professional development

Our services put you in a state of satisfying professional advantage thus giving you an edge over the rest of the workforce. We teach the skills that improve lives and expand career prospects significantly. 

Our services also expend from training, to recruitment, consultancy, couching/mentoring, internship and other professional developments. Our specialist have an in-depth knowledge of the healthcare sector, hence, we can assist individuals or organisations to reach their full potentials and more.

Our Expertise

Our team of fully qualified and experienced nurse educators and trainers ensure that we deliver safe, effective and relevant learning and development to individuals who are caring for and supporting those with complex care needs. We also provide additional support regarding competency assessment and testing within the workplace.

Training & Development

With ERM, it’s not just our facilities that makes us outstanding or the technology that keep us at the forefront of healthcare. It’s our people, the experience and commitment to achieving a set goal. Helping everyone to learn and grow to their full potentials is our ultimate goal and we stop at nothing to achieve this set goals.

Our range of courses is sorely with the objectives to equip individuals and organisations with the skills, knowledge and materials required to effectively execute their roles. These courses are blended and come with various options of delivery designed to benefit our clients.


To enable this, we invest heavily every year in professional and personal development as a core pillar of our blended framework.

Our Training Medium

  • Virtual Training
  • One to One Training
  • Face to Face Training
  • In-House Training
  • Workshops & Case Studies


ERM staff are certified trainers, highly qualified, experienced and passionate professionals who supports the trainees in both theoretical and practical skills required to ensure the safety of both themselves and the service users.

For further information on this or any of our other services and training courses please take a look around our website or alternatively contact a member


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