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Immigration crackdown risks worsening NHS and care staff shortages, leaders warn

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.p2915 (Published 11 December 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2915
  1. Emma Wilkinson
  1. Sheffield

The government’s latest pledge to “slash migration” has raised alarm in the health and care sectors, as Emma Wilkinson reports

Health and social care organisations have expressed “deep concerns” that government plans to cut immigration by tightening up visa rules could worsen NHS and care staff shortages and make life harder for those already working in the UK.

This week, the Home Office announced that it would slash migration and “curb abuse of the immigration system” with a five point plan that includes tightening the rules to prevent overseas care workers bringing dependants to the UK.1 In the year ending September 2023, 101 000 health and care visas were issued to care workers, with an estimated 120 000 visas granted to associated dependants, a statement said. A Home Office spokesperson confirmed to The BMJ that this number included dependants of all ages.

From spring 2024, the earning threshold for overseas workers coming to the UK will also increase by about half, from £26 200 to £38 700. Those coming through the health and care visa route would be exempt from the threshold, the government said, but it confirmed that the minimum income requirement would apply to British citizens who want family members, including spouses, to live with them in the UK. If a spouse is already here on a skilled worker visa and wants to move to a family visa, the …

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