ZIMBABWEAN health and social care workers, who get contracts to work in the United Kingdom, will no longer be allowed to be accompanied by their children and dependants, according to plans announced on Monday.
The changes, which will affect all the overseas health and care workers coming to work in the UK, were announced by British Home Secretary, James Cleverly.
The British authorities say the changes are an attempt at “curbing abuses to the health care visa.”
Mr Cleverly told the Commons:
“Approximately 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023.
“Only 25% of dependants are estimated to be in work, meaning a significant number are drawing on public services rather than helping to grow the economy.
“We recognise that foreign workers do great work in our NHS and health sector, but it is also important that migrants make a big enough financial contribution.”
Home Office figures published last month showed 143,990 health and care worker visas were granted in the year ending September 2023, more than double the 61,274 for the year to September 2022.
The top three nationalities on these visas were Indians, Nigerians and Zimbabweans, the Home Office said.
The 143,990 figure was just for main visa applicants and does not include dependants.
Mr Cleverly also announced that the skilled worker earnings threshold would be raised by a third to £38,700 from next spring.
He said people coming on health and social care visa routes “will be exempt so we can continue to bring in the healthcare workers on which our care sector and NHS rely”.
Mr Cleverly said care firms in England will now be required to be regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in order for them to sponsor visas. On the changes regarding dependants, the Home Office said no exact timeline has been confirmed but that further details will follow “in due course”.
Meanwhile, in its latest migration release also published last month, the Office for National Statistics said health and care work visas were the most common type of work visa on which dependants came to the UK, adding that this was driving the increase in immigration of those on work dependant visas.
Under current rules, visas last for up to five years and can be extended, while partners and children can also apply to join as the main applicant’s “dependants”. – H-Metro Reporter/Press Association