Health and care visa applications plummet over 75% after UK bans dependants

The UK has seen a 76% decline in overseas visa applications from overseas health and care workers since the announcement of new rules denying migrants the right to bring dependants with them to the country.

Government data shows that, from January to April of this year, there were around 12,400 applications for the Health and Care Worker visa.

This represents a 76% drop from the 50,900 who applied during the same period last year.

With the changes coming into effect in March, data from April (the first full month of data) shows a 58% drop in applications from health and care dependants.

Meanwhile, the study visa also saw a similar drop in applicants, however the skilled worker visa has rocketed in popularity.

James Cleverly, Home Secretary, said the restrictions on visa applicants were “working” to reduce immigration to the UK, adding: “The British people deserve an immigration system that puts their interests first.

Home secretary James Cleverly
Home secretary James Cleverly

“Our approach is about control and fairness – to the highly skilled coming here who deserve a decent wage, to taxpayers who shouldn’t be relied on to support them, and to British workers who shouldn’t be undercut.

“We will continue to keep these measures under close review and if needed, we will not hesitate to go further.”

Responding to a 76% fall in the number of visa applications from overseas health and care workers between January and April 2024 compared with the same period in 2023, Pat Cullen, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: “Blocking care workers and their families from coming to the UK is detrimental to the care of those in need and cruel to the people who can provide it.

“There are over 150,000 unfilled roles in our social care sector and it is illogical for ministers to celebrate making this situation worse. An overburdened NHS will continue to pay the price for a failing care sector. Many of the patients lining corridors in hospitals should be supported properly at home instead.

“A safely staffed social care sector requires rule changes, clear investment and improving pay and conditions.”

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