Health and Care Worker Applications Fall by 76% a Month After New Rules Take Effect

| May 28, 2024
Health and Care Worker Applications Fall by 76% a Month After New Rules Take Effect

One month after the new rules took effect, applications for the UK Health and Care worker visa route dropped by 76 percent.

This is according to the latest monthly statistics released by the Home Office.

Between January and April 2024, the UK only received around 12,400 Health and Care Worker visa applications.

In 2023, 50,900 Health and Care Worker visa applications were made during the same period.

This represents a decline of over three-quarters in the first four months of 2024 compared to last year.

Applications for Health and Care Worker visa dependants also dropped by 58 percent.

This translates to a decrease from 15,100 applications by April 2023 to just 6,400 by the end of April this year.

The new rule restricting health and care workers from bringing their families to the UK took effect on 11 March.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the latest data indicates that “legal migration continues to fall across key routes.”

These key visa routes include Skilled Worker, Health and Care Worker, and Study visas.

“The plan to deliver the largest ever cut to legal migration in our country’s history is working,” he said via a news release.

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

The UK government has stated that the significant increase in Health and Care Worker dependants is both excessive and unsustainable.

The new policies aim to prevent sector abuse by requiring all care firms planning to sponsor migrant workers to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

He stressed that the UK government’s strategy focuses on “control and fairness.”

This includes fair wages for highly skilled migrant workers and relieving taxpayers of the burden to support them.

It also prioritizes British workers, ensuring their interests come first, and preventing them from being undercut.

Work visa applications are now higher than student applications

The ONS data also showed that other Skilled Worker visa applications increased year-on-year.

In the first four months of April 2024, there were 29,200 main work visa applicants.

This is a 41 percent increase from just 20,700 in the same period last year.

Additionally, 26,300 applications were made by dependants of work visa applicants this year, a 62 percent increase from the year before.

In the equivalent period in 2023, only 16,200 applications were made by dependants of work visa applicants.

Starting 4 April, Skilled Worker visa applicants must meet a salary threshold of £38,700, a 48-percent hike from the previous threshold.

On the other hand, from January to April 2024, there were 43,600 main applicants for Student visa courses.

The number is 12 percent down from the same period last year, with 49,400 Student visa applicants.

Student visa dependant applications dropped by 79 percent, from 38,900 in the first four months of 2023 to 8,300 in the same period in 2024.

The UK government restricted most Student visa holders from bringing dependants to the UK from January 2024.

They are also not allowed to switch to work visas until after they finish their course to prevent using the route as a backdoor to working in the UK.

The Home Office said it needs to wait for the “peak in student applications for the next academic year.”

This is typically during August and September to determine the “full effect of recent policy changes and any other impacts.”

UK’s net migration down by 10 percent

The new policies on skilled workers and health and care workers are part of a larger package of measures to reduce the UK’s net migration.

Other new rules that rolled out this year include replacing the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) with the Immigration Salary List (ISL).

This ensures that employers will no longer be able to pay migrants less than UK workers in shortage occupations.

Family visa applicants must also meet the new minimum income requirement (MIR) of £29,000.

The MIR will increase to equal the salary threshold of skilled workers by early 2025.

Since the new legal migration measures took effect, key visa route applications have dropped 25 percent.

According to official ONS data, net migration to the UK in 2023 has already declined by 10 percent to 685,000.

For the year ending in 2022, the UK’s net migration rose to an adjusted record of 764,000.

The ONS noted that it was too early to tell if the decline in net migration was the start of a downward trend.