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UK Imposes Ban on Dependants Accompanying Overseas Health Workers

The United Kingdom has recently implemented stringent measures, barring health workers from bringing dependants into the country. This announcement was made by the UK Home Office in a statement released on Monday, underlining the government’s commitment to curbing net migration and addressing visa abuse.

The statement emphasized that these new rules are part of a comprehensive government strategy aimed at reducing unsustainable levels of legal migration. Citing statistics from the previous year, the release highlighted that a total of 120,000 dependants had accompanied 100,000 workers to the UK.

Furthermore, the statement outlined additional requirements for care providers in England acting as sponsors for migrants. These providers will now be mandated to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the industry regulator for Health and Social Care. This move is intended to crackdown on worker exploitation and abuse within the sector.

The comprehensive package of measures, set to be implemented expeditiously, signifies that approximately 300,000 individuals who were eligible to come to the UK last year will no longer have that opportunity.

Home Secretary James Cleverly MP expressed the government’s stance, stating, “Care workers make an incredible contribution to our society, taking care of our loved ones in times of need. However, we cannot allow clear abuse, manipulation of our immigration system, and unsustainable migration numbers to persist.”

Cleverly continued, “Our plan is robust but fair – protecting British workers while ensuring the very best international talent can work and study here, adding value to our society and growing the economy.”

The statement underscored evidence that care workers have been granted visas under false pretenses, enduring extensive travels for jobs that either do not exist or offer remuneration far below the required minimum wage. The changes, effective immediately, aim to address these issues.

The Home Secretary announced forthcoming rules in Parliament scheduled for later this week (14 March). These regulations will prevent the continued undercutting of British workers, including raising the salary threshold for skilled workers to obtain a visa and eliminating the 20% ‘going-rate’ discount for migrant workers in shortage occupations.

Minister for Social Care Helen Whately MP supported the decision, stating, “International care workers make an invaluable contribution caring for our loved ones, but international recruitment and more immigration are not long-term solutions to our social care needs. These rules provide a more ethical and sustainable approach.”

Whately highlighted ongoing efforts to strengthen the domestic workforce, including the introduction of a national career path for care workers and a new care qualification. The aim is to reduce vacancies and staff turnover in social care.

In addition, the Home Secretary revealed that the commission will review the graduate route for international students to prevent abuse, protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education, and ensure it aligns with the best interests of the UK.

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