New UK Migration Law Prohibits Care Workers from Bringing Dependants

New regulations to drastically reduce net migration and combat visa abuse in the UK are now in effect as part of the government’s effort to reduce unsustainable levels of legal migration.

Care workers will now be prohibited from bringing dependants, following a disproportionate 120,000 dependants accompanying 100,000 staff on the trip last year.

Care providers in England who sponsor migrants will also be forced to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the industry regulator for health and social care, in order to combat worker exploitation and abuse in the field.

It is part of a larger package of measures that are being implemented as soon as possible, which means that 300,000 persons who were qualified to visit the UK last year would suddenly be unable to do so.

Home Secretary, James Cleverly MP, said:

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.

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.

There is significant evidence that care workers have been offered visas under false pretenses, travelling thousands of miles for positions that do not exist or to be paid well below the minimum wage necessary for their profession, exploiting them while undercutting British employees.

These changes take effect as the government prepares to lay rules in Parliament later this week (14 March) to prevent the continued undercutting of British workers, including raising the salary threshold that a skilled worker must meet in order to obtain a visa and eliminating the 20% ‘going-rate’ discount for migrant workers in shortage occupations.

Minister for Social Care, Helen Whately MP, said:

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.

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.

The Home Secretary will also commission a review of the graduate route for international students today in order to prevent abuse, maintain the integrity and quality of UK higher education, and ensure that it serves the UK’s best interests.

He will request that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) assess the effectiveness of the graduate visa route, which has given 175,872 visas since its inception. The goal is to recruit top talent to the UK.

This follows concerns made by the MAC, which discovered that the number of international postgraduate students attending universities with the lowest UCAS entry standards climbed by more than 250% between 2018 and 2022.

This follows student visa regulations that went into effect at the beginning of January, removing the ability of nearly all postgraduate students to bring dependents to the UK.The government predicts a significant drop in student dependent applications this year, with early signs of this trend.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be replaced with a new Immigration Salary List on April 4.This follows a recommendation from the independent MAC, which also advised the government on which occupations should be temporarily included to the new list.

The government has been clear that roles should only be included if they are competent and in short supply, and that no industry should be completely reliant on immigration. Inclusion on the list must not contribute to lower wages or impair the recruitment of British workers.

From April 4, the minimum wage necessary for those arriving on the Skilled Worker visa will rise by 48%, from £26,200 to £38,700. This will further drive down numbers, relieve pressure on public services, and prevent firms from undercutting British workers in order to recruit cheap labour from outside. The government’s rigorous strategy will prioritise the most brilliant and highly trained people from outside who will add value and significantly contribute to economic growth, while pushing firms to invest in training, upskilling, and recruiting domestic workers.

Beginning April 11, the minimum income threshold for family visas will increase to £29,000. By early 2025, this figure will have risen to £38,700, ensuring that dependents brought to the UK get financial support.

The government has made it clear that immigration is not a long-term solution to social care demands, and care providers should hire more British workers. The Department for Health and Social Care is leading a project to expand and assist the domestic social care workforce. This includes improved training, clearer career routes, and better job opportunities thanks to a new recognized qualification.

The Department for Work and Pensions is taking urgent action in one of the largest employment interventions in a generation with its £2.5 billion Back to Work initiative, which will assist 1.1 million long-term jobless, unwell, or handicapped individuals in overcoming hurdles to employment.

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