Care workers will not qualify for the new NHS visa under the government’s post-Brexit immigration system.
From January 1 next year a new points-based immigration system will be introduced.
As part of the change, health professionals from abroad will be able to apply for a special visa to work in the UK.
But Downing Street confirmed on Monday that social care workers would not be able to take advantage of it.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson said the government wanted to “invest more in training and development for care workers in this country”.
“On care workers specifically, our independent migration advisers have said that immigration is not the sole answer here, which is why we have provided councils with an additional £1.5 billion of funding for social care in 2021/22, as well as launching a new recruitment campaign,” the spokesperson said.
Existing EU workers in the care sector could apply to stay in the UK through the settlement scheme “and a very large number have done so”, the spokesperson added.
“Those people will remain in the UK providing really important care to the elderly and the vulnerable.”
The Brexit transition period ends at the end of 2020, which also sees the end of EU freedom of movement rules applying to the UK.
Home secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline further details in the Commons on Monday.
The decision comes amid increased focus on social care amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Office for National Statistics, almost 30,000 more care home residents died during the outbreak than during the same timer period last year.
In July 2019 on the steps of Downing Street, Johnson promised he would “fix the crisis in social care once and for all”.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.