NewsUK Implements Stringent Visa Regulations Barring Overseas Care Workers from Bringing Dependants:...

UK Implements Stringent Visa Regulations Barring Overseas Care Workers from Bringing Dependants: Comprehensive Analysis for Healthcare Stakeholders

New UK Immigration Rules Restrict Care Workers, Aim to Cut Migration. The United Kingdom has implemented new visa rules effective March 11, 2024 that ban overseas care workers from bringing dependant family members with them to the UK.

The move is part of the government’s plan to deliver the biggest ever cut in migration and tackle what it calls “clear abuse” and “manipulation” of the immigration system

Key Points of the New Rules

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  • Care providers in England acting as visa sponsors must now be regulated by the Care Quality Commission to crack down on worker exploitation.
  • The minimum salary required for skilled worker visas will increase from £26,200 to £38,700 starting in April 2024.
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge will increase by 66% from £624 to £1035 per year.

Impact on the Care Sector

The adult social care workforce in England already faces significant challenges, with one in ten posts vacant in 2022-23. The sector has relied heavily on overseas workers to fill this gap, with the government admitting a record number of migrant care workers after the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, care work is extremely demanding and poorly paid. Being separated from family causes serious emotional and financial hardship for migrant workers. The new restrictions will likely deter many from coming to work in the UK care sector.

Darren Stapelberg, CEO of a major UK home care provider, says his company is paying dozens of migrant workers to sit idle because the Home Office has made it “almost impossible to get new people in” and many existing staff cannot get visa renewals under the tightened rules.

Some providers are close to handing back thousands of hours of home care to local councils due to the visa problems.

Government Rationale and Reaction

Home Secretary James Cleverly says the changes are necessary to cut “unsustainable” net migration, end “abuse” of the care visa, prevent undercutting of British workers’ salaries, and ensure immigrants make a sufficient financial contribution.

He claims 300,000 fewer people will come to the UK in the coming years as a result of the new policies.

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However, critics argue the restrictions show disregard for migrant care workers and their families.

The very workers hailed as heroes during the pandemic are now being scapegoated.

Experts warn the changes will have a devastating effect on the already struggling care sector that is heavily dependent on overseas staff.

Other Immigration Changes

The care worker rules are part of a wider package of measures aimed at reducing net migration to the UK:

  • International students will be restricted from bringing dependants unless on postgraduate research courses
  • The Graduate visa route for international students will be reviewed to prevent abuse
  • The Ukraine Family Scheme is ending.

The UK’s new visa rules banning overseas care workers from bringing dependant family mark a dramatic shift in immigration policy.

While the government argues the changes are needed to cut migration and tackle system abuse, the care sector is sounding the alarm about the impact on an already depleted workforce.

With the demand for care only projected to grow, it remains to be seen how the UK will fill the widening gap without the critical contributions of migrant workers and their families.

Also Read:

Important Update: Certain Visa Categories Exempt from New UK Dependent Visa Rules from March 11, 2024

New UK Immigration Rules 2024: What Healthcare Workers and Employers Need to Know

Good News for Health and Care Worker Visa Holders: Care Workers Can Bring Dependents to the UK in 2024

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