EXCLUSIVE: Expats defend right to fly back to UK for two-week stints as live-in carers

LAST UPDATED: 10 Jan, 2017 @ 21:39
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82564238.jpgEXPATS have come out fighting for their ‘right’ to fly back to the UK for two-week intensive shifts looking after the elderly.

It comes after the UK media revealed that Brits are funding their lives in the sun by taking fortnightly placements – earning up to €2,000 a time – taking sole care of the vulnerable.

The ‘carers’, who are also said to get free travel and accommodation, are reportedly only required to undergo a few days training beforehand.

But expats in Spain speaking to the Olive Press insist that the claims are wildly exaggerated.

“I am very upset to be labelled as an ‘unqualified’ money-chaser after spending Christmas and New Year away from my family,” one Malaga-based British carer, 44, told the Olive Press.

“I was working 10 hours a day and could only leave the house of the couple I was caring for for two hours each day,” said the carer, who cannot be named for legal reasons.

“In reality I was working 22 hours a day, it’s unfair that I have been made to seem like anyone off the street looking for extra money. And I have plenty of experience from before,” added the mother-of-three, who has lived on the Costa del Sol for 12 years.

The so-called scandal came about as experts cited the issue of recruiting in Spain as evidence of a ‘massive crisis’ in the UK care sector.

A couple of agencies confirmed to the Daily Telegraph they had seen a ‘huge increase’ in the number of expats taking the work, many allegedly claiming they were only attracted by the money.

Age UK director
Age UK director Caroline

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams insisted it was ‘yet another symptom of a crisis in social care’ after many of the recruits were found to not have full professional qualifications or relevant previous experience.

However, British job agencies have been recruiting in Spain for years and most of the employees are either qualified or do have relevant work experience.

“I got properly trained and have three years of previous experience working in care homes in the UK, as did most of the girls I worked with,” continued the Malaga carer.

“On top of that the training course I took was a refresher of what I’d already done in.

“I also had to go through police and background checks.

“Sure there may be some who will just go for the money but that will be a tiny minority, the work is so challenging, so don’t tar the good-working expats with the same brush.”

In addition, claims that the agencies are putting pensioners ‘at risk’ receiving care from virtual strangers, seem unfair.

British bar in Spain
British bar in Spain

The report added that Brits have been driven to the work by a crippling downturn in the Spanish economy and to supplement business interests such as bars and restaurants.

“I really don’t see what the problem is,” said Bertha Jones, a retired British nurse on the Costa del Sol.

“People are only trying to earn money. I used to go to work for two weeks at a time in the UK for an agency as a live-in carer.”

Michelle Baker, another expat who spent years working as a carer, said live-in carers are far from unqualified and are ‘definitely not in it for the money’.

“Not only do we attend training and go through a rigorous CRB check, we are also expected to do ongoing training, so that we are fully aware of present and up to date policies and procedures,” she said.

“It is one of the most rewarding professions I have ever had the pleasure to be part of.”

Helping Hands, one of the largest agencies approaching expats in Spain, told the Olive Press:

“Helping Hands has had a dedicated training centre in Torrevieja for the last two years as an extension to our Centre of Excellence in Warwickshire..

“As a regulated provider Helping Hands takes compliance with The Care Quality Commission and The Care Certificate very seriously indeed.

“We can assure any of those working with us that the selection and training process not only meets but exceeds the standards as set by The Care Certificate.”  

 

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23 COMMENTS

  1. What’s the issue here, that hard working ex pats who have a get up and go mentality like EU migrants to the UK or the fact that these care agencies can’t find people in work shy Britain to do the jobs. Time the UK press concentrated on the appalling state of the UK rather than picking on hard working ex pats and EU migrants.

  2. I agree with everything that Peter has said but I’m afraid this attitude towards British expats in Spain is fairly common and those who have an axe to grind will try to demonise this type of scheme and then try to use it to their advantage. Until recently, I had no idea how bitter and jealous people were towards Brits in Spain (and other places with better weather) and how nasty it had become. I had an enlightening conversation with my Australian brother in law over Christmas and to summarise, he thinks that all Brits in Spain want ‘to have their cake and eat it’ and deserve all that Brexit will dollop up, British pensioners should not receive heathcare in Spain (or anywhere else) funded by the NHS, Brits should not be allowed to run businesses or work in Spain, should lose their right to vote in the UK and all EU expats working in the UK should be forced to have work permits with a view to phasing them out completely. If he had his way, he would ban these British care workers from working in the UK and there is nothing he would like more than to see Brits in Spain in the brown stuff. I realise he is an extreme (rare?) case with a serious chip on his shoulder but I feel I should warn everyone that there are people like him out there and I doubt he is alone in his views. Needless to say, he voted Brexit.

    • Contrary to many OP readers’s apparent opinion and worldview, Brits as a class – fair or not – are not well perceived nor liked in Spain. Many Spanish around Asturias and Cantábria view Brits as aloof even arrogant about being ‘British’, colonial minded, interested only in their fellow Brits, manipulators of EU benefits, heavy drinkers and drug users, singularly money-minded,thinking money correlates with ‘class’.
      I do not share this blanket indictment, but do see from news- media and holiday seekers why local people would view Brits this way. In any stereotype there may be a speck of truth.

      • Quite often stereotypes are a purely racist/xenophobic trope. “Immigrants” and extranjeros in any country serve as one of those. Crediting these aberrations with a “grain of truth” merely compounds prejudice.

        • Of course, Americans are not very well perceived either. They are often seen by many as highly materialistic, loud-mouthed, overweight fast-food slobs, gun-mad, gung-ho individuals, who are often intellectually deficient with no worldly-knowledge, and who are always invading other countries and creating a total mess, telling us they are the “land of the free” whilst having the most secret draconian laws against the individual. I do not share this blanket indictment, but do see from news and media why local people would view Americans in this way, especially so now as they have have a total tool of an incumbent President. Unsurprisingly, many xenophobic and racist Britons get on very well in the USA.

          Jane is quite correct in her analysis. Many Britons who move to Spain, of working age, take solace from the local grapevine, where they feed on disinformation about other residents that they don’t like, for whatever reason (nice house, car, money, job, or political views etc). All best avoided is my advice.

          • Pleased to see you don’t share the blanket indictment regarding America and of it’s American peoples. But I do share the thought of intervention in other countries to which America in one case gave Europe the freedom it now possess and know doubt America will once again be asked to help Europe in the need of survival if attacked once again. But you are correct in saying their deficient knowledge on worldly matters which I assume you are talking about the American people in general and not the top brass because it doesn’t suit other countries way of thinking, example with your own admission not sharing the thoughts of the statement you made. But I’ll give you two true examples of the knowledge by some Americans regarding worldly matters. One was asked if he knew where the American horses came from, he replied “the red Indians”. Two friends of mine were in a Kentucky Hotel and the waitress asked where they came from due to their strange accent. “London” they replied, “Which part of America is that”, she answered. “London in England” they replied. “Oh”, she said. “does England also have a London”. Rest my case.

        • Carlos, I never accept blanket accusations – those rarely exist, however some of the perceptions I mentioned are rooted in reality. America has created chaos in the middle east for example, and the average American man on the street (to clarify) rarely has worldly knowledge, perhaps because they are fed so much propaganda. I particularly recall one of Michael Moore’s excellent films where he goes to small and isolated towns across America (some with just 200 people) and asks them about their greatest fears, and many people say that an invasion by Islamic fundamentalists would be their top worry. Hmm.

          Btw you WWII analysis is highly subjective. It was an allied victory. That is off-topic again Carlos, but your omission that 80% of Hitlers armies died on the Russian front was most surprising.

          • Oh please Fred, do me a favor. Britain was on it’s knees, nothing to stop Hitler crossing the channel and his biggest mistake was to invade Russia first and those 80% you mention that died would have been in England instead. Well documented. If it was not for America you would now be speaking German. Think you may have been too young or not even born to remember starvation rations. BTW Fred, it’s you that has taken it off topic. Read you comment on 5 Jan, 2017 @ 00:32 at 00:32, Your quote:- “and who are always invading other countries and creating a total mess”. I was just continuing your break-away topic. As usual Fred, you must be careful in what you say and then try not to fudge around it. Another point well documented. BTW, how’s about this one. Your quote:- Carlos, I never accept blanket accusations”, to which I replied, “Pleased to see you don’t share the blanket indictment”. Ah’well.

          • No, the remainers are a much more intelligent bunch of people and have significantly more worldly knowledge. The UK and US are now totally polarised countries that have decades of unrest and hard times ahead.

          • Carlos, your view on WWII is just one of thousands, and is not definitive by a long shot, and of course there is no way of proving the various outcomes. Your assertion that nothing could stop Hitler crossing the channel seems to forget that the RAF ended the Luftwaffe’s dominance in that respect. I do not remember starvation rations, but what I do have is a relative who fought against Rommel in Africa, fought in Monte Cassino in Italy, and fought as a pilot in the Battle of Britain as well. I listen to him when I want some facts. The Americans didn’t have to fight the Germans in WWII, remember?

            Luckily I do understand threads and timelines. Your post 5 Jan, 2017 @ 09:49 says “Pleased to see you don’t share the blanket indictment regarding America and of it’s American peoples” and on 5 Jan, 2017 @ 13:22 I replied with “Carlos, I never accept blanket accusations”, where I was agreeing with you. Before accusing others you need to get your facts correct first Carlos, as in this case you can’t even determine what a reply to your own posting is. Btw, you were the first to write “But I do share the thought of intervention in other countries to which America in one case gave Europe the freedom it now possess”, which was the off-topic trigger to begin with. Fudge your way out of that one.

  3. Spanish perception of foreigners does influence Spanish immigration policies, and not only for those affected by BREXIT, but all of us alike. Brits take the brunt of criticism because their population is larger, and their life styles more visible. We know of very few Americans in Asturias and Cantábria. There are no foreign enclaves. Americans here are from mostly of Mexican and Cuban descent, Spanish speakers, socially integrated and invisible as foreigners.
    The Asturian ambience, often cloudy and wet, may be a better ambience than big Southern coastal areas if one prefers calm, crime free retirement. We know that we are fortunate to live in a part of Spain not really on the radar for unsavory Brits, Americans, Germans and others making trouble with flashy behavior, sexual predation, drugs, drunkenness, exploitive businesses, grifting etc. endemic to coastal and island areas.
    In the US, educated immigrants are raising school standards just by their classroom presence. In my wife’s advanced placement class, the majority of her students are first generation. Parents value education themselves and take advantage of adult education and university programs, and study along with their children. Its cultural.
    Recent US election demonstrated that poorly educated people, no matter how repugnant their attitudes are, cannot be ignored. They vote. And they vote based on their own perceptions – which means that as immigrants, tourists or residence in Spain, we all need to be quite aware of what we say and do. Spanish perceptions of foreigners’s does influence Spanish immigration policies, and not only for those affected by BREXIT.
    But all of us alike.
    Despite their faults, Americans do know how to organize politically, as civil rights movements of all kinds have shown since the 60s. Michael Moore’s analysis of class phenomena – much different than Europe’s – is right on target. Change is coming.

  4. Jane G – you should ask your brother in law why it is nearly impossible for Brits or other Europeans to get a work permit in Oz but London is full of them? and what does he think of Oz being the world leader in obesity. As to your comments about bitchiness, rest assured the same is true in France where many are literally living hand to mouth, are getting older and made the mistake of living out in the sticks buying old houses that the French were delighted to sell them at inflated prices and which they have zero chance of selling, Brexit does’nt come into it.

    Carlos, the only crack unit the Germans had in France in 44 – the Das Reich division with only 40% of it’s tanks reaching Normandy (thanks French Resistance) slammed into the Americans at Caen who turned and fled, leaving the British/Canadian flank totally exposed or the regiments of German schoolboys who almost pushed the Americans in the Ardennes into the North Sea and would have done if the weather had’nt changed allowing the US planes to carpet bomb them and still it was the British and Canadian generals who had to go and rouse them since the American generals did’nt have the bottle. Only the blind and bigoted will not thank the Soviets for defeating the Austrians and Germans and as Fred has said lost most of their armies on the Eastern Front. Just think if the Sturmgewehr 44 had been the Sturmgewehr 39 and the Austrian idiot with the amphetamine habit had taken out the Brits first then we would be speaking German and shock/horror the British working class would still be fully skilled and employed and the only class that would have been ‘excess to requirements’ the public schoolboys would have been rounded up and exterminated. If the little jealous idiot had listened to Erwin Rommel, Normandy would have been a slaughterhouse for the western Allies. This man was two generations at least ahead in tactics and military mentality. Carlos, ask any American you know to tell you all about Cassereine Pass in North Africa – you’ve been watching too many Hollywood propaganda movies.

    Peter, if you were an East European and lucky enough to have a professional job which paid 1/5th of the minimum wage in the UK a terrible standard of living you too would leg it to the UK. Good luck to those Brits who make the effort, especially if they put some heart into looking after the elderly, what’s not to like.

    In the mid 70s’ my mother spent two winters in Miami, could’nt believe the racism and shocked black americans by sitting in the back of busses with them. She brought back with her the Sunday paper which was thick with adverts and not a single word about them rest of the world. Also encountered a lot of very friendly people as well.

    • Cultural contradictions abound in the USA as Michael Moore rightly pointed out in his post election analysis. While there are certainly racist working class people in the USA, there are many, many – no doubt the majority – who are not. In USA – like UK and Europe – the problem lies with education and income distribution, and the corruption within especially the House of Representatives.

    • Stuart, my brother in law is a hypocrite who has completely lost all sense of reason which means sensible discourse is out of the question.

      To clarify, my post refers to those living in the UK who have it in for their compatriots who have moved to places like Spain, France and Portugal and supposedly have a better life in a better climate – yes, climate jealousy does exist. I think that British expats should be aware that there are some in the UK who want to harm them and quotes like ‘Brits are funding their lives in the sun by taking fortnightly placements – earning up to €2,000 a time’ are lapped up and get the swivel eyed brigade frothing at the mouth.

      There is something particularly cruel and low about the way the media (not the OP of course) are trying to demonise this scheme and appease their small minded readership. These care workers are doing a decent job and helping old people who cannot care for themselves and I doubt that those who slag them off would touch a job like that with a barge pole.

    • No Stuart not too many Hollywood films but news reels that show small boats helping the defeated at Dunkirk back to Britain and yes if the Germans had followed the retreat we would all be speaking German. Perhaps you should talk to people that were involved in WWll against the German army like I have and and still do and perhaps they will tell you how outgunned they were against far superior weapons that the Germans had. Lets not go into WWll, it’s past, finished.
      Perhaps you should read the following link and perhaps understand how important it was that America joined the war. BTW stuart, what regiment or corps did you serve army time and what was your release date number. I could tell you mine and have never forgotten my army number. So please stuart, do me a favor.
      “http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/Decoder/2015/1207/Pearl-Harbor-attack-How-did-Winston-Churchill-react”

      • “Lets not go into WWll, it’s past, finished.”

        So why did you bring it up in the first place then, Carlos? Make a new years resolution to abstain from doing this again, perhaps?

        • I think if you care to look back I was riding on your and stuart’s intake. It was you that first mentioned anything about wars when you stated:- (America) who are always invading other countries and creating a total mess. Fred stop twisting things about. Perhaps age is now telling on you, especially if you remember the “starvation period” and perhaps in future get your facts right before printing, it appears to be a bad habit you have. Hows the other………better not. lol

          • Carlos, America invaded lots of countries well after WWII. WWII was a World War, remember, so it’s totally different in that respect. Those are the facts that (surprisingly) you just don’t grasp. Do keep up. Please do tell what “the other” is too, as you won’t get anywhere with that either. As for my age, I am nowhere near retirement age, unlike you. Seems age doesn’t buy wisdom after all. Seems that you are always riding on someone else Carlos lol.

        • I did reply to you regarding a passage about Monte cassino where Italian friends I know (still alive) lived in the town of cassino at the time, not someone flying over it dropping bombs, including the destruction of the town
          itself. BTW. The American’s paid for the rebuilding of the abbey and do you know the history of the abbey before your relation helped to destroy it. No you don’t, and no doubt you will now look it up.

          Monte Cassino, a church, was not occupied by the German defenders. The Germans had set up defence positions in the slopes. American bombers dropped 1,400 tons of bombs onto the Cassino Abbey.[6]

          German paratroopers went into the abbey’s ruins. Between 17 January and 18 May, Monte Cassino and the Gustav defences were attacked four times by Allied troops. The German defenders were finally driven from their positions, but with many losses for the Allies.[7]

          BTW Fred, the small amount of Germans

  5. After reading this article and the ones in the U.K. Press I’m appalled at the treatment of carers in general. Speaking as an ex pat who is also a carer, I was basically forced into this lifestyle of doing care in the U.K. And living in Spain due to the lack of care position in Spain (costa del Sol) for male carers all of the agencies there favor females. Where as in the U.K. Many people would prefer male carers.
    In general the treatment of care workers is horrific we work long hours and are regulated very strictly and are seen by the general public as money hungry scum wanting to have our cake and eat it. For me I’ve been in the U.K. Since August working 24hrs a day in live in positions away from my family because I want to make a difference in the world. I’d love to do this in Spain but it’s not an option. Most people need to realize that it’s not just for the money!
    Care work isn’t easy! It isn’t for everyone! But it does make a difference to those you help

  6. Adrian, may I add to your last sentence:- “Care work isn’t easy! It isn’t for everyone! But it does make a difference to those you help “and love”.
    But then again you have these loving moaning people who are quite content in dumping their loved ones into an old people home. I know, due to my sister owning and ruining two homes, their loved ones possibly visiting once a week. Care workers earn every penny from their vocation and more.
    Adrian I happened to be in my sister office early one morning when she phoned to tell a person that her mother had past away and the doctor would be there at 10 am. There was a pause until my sister finally screamed down the phone, “Well postpone it”. “What was that all about” I asked. “She couldn’t make it at ten because she had a hair appointment”.

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