William Eichler 31 January 2024

Migrant care worker family ban ‘reckless’, union says

Migrant care worker family ban ‘reckless’, union says image
Image: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock.com.

The Government’s decision to ban migrant care workers from bringing family over to join them in England could ‘spell disaster for social care’, union warns.

Immigration minister Tom Pursglove has confirmed changes to immigration rules which will remove the right for care workers and senior care workers to bring dependants.

First announced in December, the new rules aim to ensure that care providers will only be able to sponsor migrant workers if they are undertaking activities regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

According to Mr Pursglove, the move will help tackle the ‘abuse’ of the Health and Care Visa route.

However, Unison head of social care Gavin Edwards has criticised the rule change, describing it as ‘reckless’.

‘Care companies couldn’t function without migrant care workers. Firms have to recruit from overseas because the Government’s done nothing to solve the care staffing crisis,’ he said.

‘Ministers’ reckless changes to immigration policy spell disaster for social care. Until pay rates rise substantially, there’ll never be enough UK-based recruits to plug the huge hole in the care workforce.’

He continued: ‘The ban on families means overseas care staff will be much less likely to come to work in the UK. The few that do will be more isolated and at even greater risk of exploitation. But migrant workers are still very much needed. Ministers know this, yet don’t seem to care.’

Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive of Care England, also criticised the move, asking why it has been applied to social care but not to the NHS.

‘Yet again, we see the Government singling out social care for negative treatment, whilst at the same time, talking endlessly about integration. The Department for Health and Social Care needs to fight for social care in the same way it fights for the NHS because we are not only neglected but we are constantly treated differently and detrimentally to the NHS.’

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