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U.K. Health Care Visa Applications Drop 76 Percent

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. U.K. Health Care Visa Applications Drop 76 Percent

Foreign carers were banned in March from bringing their families to the U.K.

The number of foreign health and care workers applying for U.K. work visas fell 76 per cent this year after the government tightened immigration regulations but the number of skilled worker applications jumped 41 percent, data shows.

The number of main applications in the health and care workers route dropped to 12,400 in January-April 2024 compared to 50,900 in the same period a year earlier, according to provisional government data released May 22.Dependant applications in the route fell 6 percent to 55,700.

The government said in December health and care workers would no longer be allowed to bring dependants into the country, a rule that came into effect March 11. The wage threshold for workers was also increased to £29,000, from £18,600, in April.

The figures also indicated that the number of main applications for Skilled Worker visas jumped to 29,200 in January-April this year versus 20,700 a year ago as organisations rushed to beat a deadline for an increase in threshold salary. The minimum salary required to apply for a Skilled Worker visa was raised to £38,700 from £26,200 from April 4.

The Conservative Party, that has called an early general election on July 4, has been under pressure to reduce net migration and announced a series of measures in December that it says will help cut the annual number by 300,000.

The U.K.’s net migration, the difference between those entering and leaving the country for long-term stay, climbed to a record 764,000 in 2022, about three times the annual average before the pandemic. Net migration fell 10 percent in 2023 to 685,000, the Office of National Statistics said last month. Curbing the inflow of foreigners was a key election plank of the Conservative Party.

Home Secretary James Cleverly has insisted the Government's plan to cut legal migration levels is "working," The Standard newspaper reported May 23.

"This monthly data is the most up-to-date picture of visa levels, showing that on current trajectories legal migration continues to fall across key routes." The Standard quoted Cleverly as saying. The measures will be kept "under close review" and "if needed, we will not hesitate to go further," he said.

The number of main applications for sponsored student study visas fell 12 percent to 43,600 in January to April 2024 from 49,400 in the equivalent period in 2023. Dependants included in these applications fell 79 per cent to 8,300 from 38,900.

Foreign students not involved in research were barred from bringing dependants to the U.K. from January 1, 2024.

It will be "necessary to await the peak in student applications for the next academic year", which usually comes in August and September, before it will be possible to see the "full effect of recent policy changes and any other impacts,’’ The Standard cited The Home Office as saying.

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