UK Implements Dependants’ Ban on Migrant Caregivers to Cut Migration

The United Kingdom (UK) has initiated the implementation of a dependants’ ban on migrant caregivers as part of its strategy to reduce migration levels, announced the UK Home Office on Monday.
Effective immediately, care workers entering the UK on Health and Care Worker visas will no longer be permitted to bring dependants, according to a statement shared on the UK Home Office’s official platform X.
“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.”
Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized the significant contributions of care workers to UK society, acknowledging their vital role in supporting individuals in times of need.
However, he underscored the necessity of addressing abuse and manipulation within the immigration system, alongside managing migration numbers sustainably.
The measure, initially announced in December, reflects the government’s stance that immigration alone cannot address long-term social care needs, as stated by Social Care Minister Helen Whately. The UK government aims to curtail net migration, which has surged to record levels, through various restrictions and enforcement measures.
In addition to the dependants’ ban on migrant caregivers, the UK government intends to tighten regulations concerning family members accompanying foreign students and prevent students from switching out of the student route into work routes prematurely.
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.
The decision comes amid a steady rise in net migration, anticipated to reach unprecedented levels this year, following a decline during the pandemic.
Official figures published in November 2022 estimated net migration to June 2022 at just over 500,000.
With over 136,000 visas issued to dependants of international students last year—a substantial increase from 16,000 in 2019—Home Secretary Suella Braverman emphasized the need for stringent measures to address immigration-related challenges.
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