UK ban on overseas care workers bringing family members comes in force

London, Mar 11 (PTI) Overseas care workers, including Indians, will be restricted from bringing dependant family members with them to the UK under new visa rules that come into force from this week.

London, Mar 11 (PTI) Overseas care workers, including Indians, will be restricted from bringing dependant family members with them to the UK under new visa rules that come into force from this week.

The UK Home Office had announced the plans earlier and on Monday said the new rules follow a 'disproportionate' 120,000 dependants accompanying 100,000 workers on the care visa route last year. It is claimed the move will radically cut net migration to the UK and tackle visa abuse to bring down “unsustainable” levels of legal migration.

“Care workers make an incredible contribution to our society, taking care of our loved ones in times of need. But we cannot justify inaction in the face of clear abuse, manipulation of our immigration system and unsustainable migration numbers,” said UK Home Secretary James Cleverly.

“It is neither right nor fair to allow this unacceptable situation to continue. We promised the British people action, and we will not rest until we have delivered on our commitment to bring numbers down substantially. Our plan is robust but fair – protecting British workers while ensuring the very best international talent can work and study here, to add value to our society and grow the economy,” he said.

The changes come into force as the government prepares to lay the new rules before Parliament on Thursday. Care providers in England acting as sponsors for migrants will also be required to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the industry regulator for Health and Social Care, a move the government says will crack down on worker exploitation and abuse within the sector.

“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,” said Minister for Social Care Helen Whately.

“We are boosting our homegrown workforce by reforming social care careers. These include the first ever national career path for care workers and a new care qualification. Our reforms will grow the domestic workforce and build on our success over the last year that saw more people working in social care, fewer vacancies and lower staff turnover,” she said.

The UK government says there is clear evidence that care workers have been offered visas under false pretences, travelling thousands of miles for jobs that simply don’t exist or to be paid far below the minimum wage required for their work, exploiting them while undercutting British workers.

The Home Office said its actions will prevent the continued undercutting of British workers, which includes raising the salary threshold that a skilled worker must meet in order to get a visa and removing the 20 per cent “going-rate” discount for migrant workers in shortage occupations.

It forms part of a wider package of measures, which the Home Office says means a total of 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would now not be able to do so.

On Monday, the Home Secretary also commissioned a review of the Graduate Route for international students to prevent abuse, protect the integrity and quality of UK higher education, and ensure it works in the best interests of the UK. Under plans announced last year, James Cleverly will formally commission the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to ensure that demand for the Graduate Route, through which a total of 175,872 visas have been granted since it was established, is “fit for purpose and focused on attracting the best and brightest to the UK”.

Indian nationals represent the largest group of students granted this visa, making up 43 per cent of grants last year, to stay on and gain work experience for at least two years after their degree.

The review of the post-study route follows changes to student visas which came into force at the start of January, ending the ability of nearly all post-graduate students to bring dependants to the UK.

Meanwhile, from April 4, the minimum salary required for those arriving on the Skilled Worker visa will increase from GBP 26,200 to GBP 38,700 – a 48 per cent increase. The minimum income requirement for family visas will also rise, starting at GBP 29,000 from 11 April and by early 2025 this will be increased to GBP 38,700. PTI AK SCY SCY

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