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UK Begins Dependants’ Ban For Migrant Care Workers

The United Kingdom (UK) has started the implementation of the dependants’ ban on migrant caregivers.

In a post on its X handle on Monday, the UK Home Office said the move is part of plans to cut migration.

From today, care workers entering the UK on Health and Care Worker visas can no longer bring dependants.

This is part of our plan to deliver the biggest ever cut in migration.

— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) March 11, 2024

“From today, care workers entering the UK on Health and Care Worker visas can no longer bring dependants,” the post read. “This is part of our plan to deliver the biggest-ever cut in migration.”

“Care workers make an incredible contribution to our society, taking care of our loved ones in times of need,” Home Secretary James Cleverly said.

“But we cannot justify inaction in the face of clear abuse, manipulation of our immigration system and unsustainable migration numbers.”

The measure was announced in December with Social Care Minister Helen Whately saying while she is “grateful” for the contribution of overseas care workers, she is also “clear that immigration is not the long-term answer to our social care needs”.

With the UK government keen to crack down on net migration which has risen to record levels, restrictions have been introduced, including on family members accompanying foreign students for non-research postgraduate courses.

After a drop during the pandemic, net migration has been steadily on the rise and is reportedly expected to hit a record high this year. Official figures published in November 2022 estimated net migration to June 2022 at just over 500,000.

Under the new proposals, only students on postgraduate courses designated as research programmes will be able to bring dependants to the UK while they study. Overseas students will be prevented from switching “out of the student route into work routes” before their studies have been completed.

There will also be “improved and more enforcement activity” and a clamp down on “unscrupulous agents” using education as a cover for immigration, according to a government statement.

Some 136,000 visas were issued to the dependants of international students last year — up eight-fold from the 16,000 in 2019, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said in a written statement to parliament.

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