The Government has announced a series of immigration reforms to reduce the level of legal migration, which has reached record-breaking figures in accordance with the latest reports.
- The headline was that the minimum salary requirement for a Skilled Worker visa will increase to £38,700 from £26,200. However, this will not apply to those coming to work under the health and care worker visa route. This is a relief for care operators, as the increased would be impossible to pay given current local authority funding constraints.
- Care Workers will not be permitted to bring their dependants to the UK, reversing the current rules. Given that most workers bring their dependent children, a ban on doing so is likely to make working in the UK less attractive and they may look to other countries instead. This is likely to reduce the number of overseas care workers coming to the UK at a time when there is a significant shortage of staff;
- Dependants of students will not be permitted to join from early next year, except for migrants pursuing Higher Education courses. However, such exemption is about to be reviewed. We have seen a significant increase in people on student visas working in the care sector and it is possible that these restrictions will reduce numbers, although this group are likely to be more socially mobile than other workers.
The above changes are expected to come into effect from Spring 2024.
While the announcement is not as detrimental for the sector as some had predicted and feared (given that the increased minimum salary requirement doesn’t apply), the changes are likely to have an impact on the ability to recruit overseas workers, who are desperately needed in the sector.