UK Introduces Stringent Visa Restrictions On Zimbabwean Care Workers
Thousands of Zimbabweans aspiring to contribute to the United Kingdom’s health and social care sectors are facing an uncertain future following the British government’s announcement of stringent visa restrictions aimed at curbing the influx of migrants.
In recent years, the UK has heavily relied on foreign workers, notably from Zimbabwe, India, and Nigeria, to address critical staffing shortages in its healthcare system. However, a recent surge in immigration has prompted the British government to take decisive measures.
British Home Secretary James Cleverly unveiled the plan on Monday to reduce migration levels and address abuses in the immigration system. Cleverly explained, “The government will tighten the health and care visa, which has seen a significant number of visas granted to care workers and their dependants, by preventing overseas care workers from bringing their dependants to the UK.”
Effective next year, the new regulations stipulate that skilled workers must earn a minimum of £38,700 (US$48,900) to qualify for a visa, a notable increase from the current £26,200 (US$33,000).
Cleverly highlighted that during the year ending September 2023, 101,000 health and care visas were issued to care workers and senior care workers, with an estimated 120,000 visas granted to associated dependants. He emphasized, “It is clear that net migration remains far too high. By leaving the European Union, we gained control over who can come to the UK, but far more must be done to bring those numbers down so British workers are not undercut and our public services put under less strain.”
The Home Secretary’s plan aims to achieve the most substantial reduction in net migration, potentially impacting around 300,000 people who arrived in the UK last year. Cleverly asserted, “I am taking decisive action to halt the drastic rise in our work visa routes and crack down on those who seek to take advantage of our hospitality.”
In the first half of this year alone, the United Kingdom granted 20,000 work visas to Zimbabwean emigrants in the health and care sector, reflecting a staggering 372% increase from the previous year.