Overseas social workers to be prohibited from bringing families to the UK

In a move to reduce the number of migrants arriving in the UK, parliament has shared a series of new policies to be rolled out next spring. 


One of which includes a ban on care workers bringing their families with them to the country. 


This announcement from Home Secretary James Cleverly arrives after the yearly net migration peaked at 745,000 in 2022.


Additionally, it will prohibit non-Care Quality Commission-registered providers from sponsoring workers, addressing substantial concerns related to the exploitation of workers by recruiters operating fraudulent care agencies.


During the period up to September 2023, the government granted visas to 101,000 care workers and senior care workers, along with 120,000 accompanying dependants, with approximately one-fourth of them engaged in employment.


However, the health and social care sector has raised the alarm over this decision – especially given the significant role overseas care staff have played over the years. 


Between March 2022 – 2023, filled positions increased from 1.615 million to 1.635 million and independent providers in England recruited 70,000 overseas staff for direct care roles through the health and care visa, significantly surpassing the sector’s overall yearly increase of 20,000 filled posts.


Cleverly informed the House of Commons yesterday that he did not anticipate these measures having a detrimental effect on the social care workforce.


So, we don’t envisage there being a significant reduction in demand because of the changes that we’ve made, but it will mean that we have the care workers that we need but not the estimated 120,000 other people who have, in the most recent year, come in,” he added. 


The Care Provider Alliance (CPA), a coalition comprising 11 representative bodies from various provider sectors, expressed that the government was “severing the lifeline of international recruitment.”


CPA chair Jane Townson emphasised: “This is currently the only option we have to maintain and increase workforce numbers, as recruitment in the UK remains challenging.”


“If care workforce numbers decline and providers cease to operate, unmet need will escalate. Not only will this lead to individual and family suffering, but it will increase pressure on council and NHS services and further extend waiting lists.”


carlette Isaac

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