Why we are stopping overseas care workers from bringing family dependents - James Cleverly

This government’s post-Brexit immigration system enables us to attract people with the skills we need for our economy and public services. Having promised to reduce immigration – both illegal and legal – we have taken the fight to people-smuggling gangs, worked more effectively with France, and toughened the law – and small boat arrivals are down by over a third.

This shows our plan is working. We will build on that momentum and stop the boats.

And shortly after I became Home Secretary, I announced changes to the law that will substantially reduce the number of legal immigrants. I have already ended the practice of most students bringing their dependents to our shores, and I expect to see a drop in student dependent applications this year as a result.

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This week measures were laid in Parliament that will start the process to implement the next part of our plan to cut rising numbers of visas being granted to overseas care workers and address high levels of non-compliance and worker exploitation and abuse in the social care sector. These will come into force on March 11. People who come to the UK legally make a huge contribution to our health and care sector, for which we should all be immensely grateful. In fact, my mother came to the UK from Sierra Leone to work in the NHS as a midwife.

Home Secretary James Cleverly speaking to the media. PIC: Jonathan Brady/PA WireHome Secretary James Cleverly speaking to the media. PIC: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Home Secretary James Cleverly speaking to the media. PIC: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

It is crucial that visas are not abused and that people who come here can pay their way. We are requiring any care provider that wants to sponsor a migrant to register with the Care Quality Commission.

Around 120,000 dependents accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023. Only a quarter of these dependants are estimated to be in work, putting pressure on our economy and public services in Yorkshire and beyond. That’s why we are stopping overseas care workers from bringing family dependents.

Further changes will follow to ensure the long term change that the British public expect. In order to stop immigration undercutting British workers, we will increase the Skilled Worker earnings thresholds by a third to £38,700 from this Spring. We are also going to clamp down on hiring cheaper labour from overseas ahead of British workers by ending the 20 per cent going rate salary discount for shortage occupations and reforming the Shortage Occupation List.

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The Conservative Government is taking a pragmatic and fair approach to our immigration system, rightly ensuring that the British people are in control of who comes to this country. We know Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party do not believe in controls on immigration, not only did they vote against the end of free movement but the last Labour government actively encouraged more immigrants to come to the UK.

This Conservative Government will always do right by those in need. But coming here as a refugee is not the same as migrating here by choice. Anyone who comes here as the latter needs to be able to support themselves and their family. That’s why we are increasing the minimum income requirement threshold for family visas. This is being done incrementally to give predictability as families plan for the future. By early 2025 it will have increased to £38,700.

This is all happening in concert with our work to digitise our border . This government is delivering a firm and fair immigration system fit for the 21st Century.

James Cleverly is the Home Secretary.

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