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UK Implements Ban on Overseas Care Workers Bringing Family Members

Photo: AFP

The UK has implemented new visa rules affecting overseas care workers, including those from India, preventing them from bringing dependant family members. This measure is a response to a perceived imbalance, with 120,000 dependants accompanying 100,000 workers on the care visa route last year. The UK Home Office justifies these changes to significantly reduce net migration, counter visa abuse, and address what it considers unsustainable levels of legal migration. UK Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasizes the need for action to protect British workers while allowing international talent to contribute positively.

The modifications coincide with the government's intention to present the new rules before Parliament on Thursday. The changes require care providers in England, acting as sponsors for migrants, to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the industry regulator for Health and Social Care. This move aims to curb worker exploitation and abuse within the sector.

While recognizing the invaluable contribution of international care workers, Minister for Social Care Helen Whately argues that international recruitment and increased immigration are not long-term solutions to social care needs. The new rules aspire to offer a more ethical and sustainable approach. The UK government claims that care workers have been offered visas under false pretenses, leading to a need for corrective action. The Home Office seeks to prevent the continued undercutting of British workers by raising the salary threshold for skilled workers and eliminating the 20% "going-rate" discount for migrant workers in shortage occupations.

This initiative is part of a broader package of measures, preventing an estimated 300,000 eligible individuals from coming to the UK. The Home Secretary also commissioned a review of the Graduate Route for international students, focusing on preventing abuse and maintaining the integrity and quality of UK higher education. The review follows recent changes to student visas that restricted the ability of postgraduate students to bring dependants to the UK.

Additionally, starting April 4, the minimum salary required for those on the Skilled Worker visa will increase by 48%, from GBP 26,200 to GBP 38,700. The minimum income requirement for family visas will also rise, beginning at GBP 29,000 from April 11, eventually reaching GBP 38,700 by early 2025. These adjustments align with the government's broader strategy to reshape immigration policies and address economic and social challenges.

March 12, 2024 1:47 p.m. 14716

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