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UK Bans Health Workers From Bringing Family Members

The UK Home Office announced a ban on health workers bringing dependants into the country. This decision comes amidst a backdrop of economic turmoil in Zimbabwe, which has seen a significant exodus of its citizens to the UK in search of better opportunities, particularly in the care sector.

For years, Zimbabweans have been leaving their homeland, propelled by an economic crisis that has gripped the nation for over two decades.

The allure of the UK, especially for care work, became a beacon of hope for many, with the sector experiencing a shortage of caregivers post-COVID-19 and offering salaries far beyond what could be earned back home.

In 2023 alone, the number of Zimbabweans migrating for care work in the UK surged by 562%, reaching over 17,000.

However, the UK’s latest policy aims to slash net migration and address visa abuse as part of a broader government strategy to reduce “unsustainable levels of legal migration,” according to a statement released on Monday.

The new rules are expected to affect 300,000 individuals who were eligible to migrate last year.

UK’s Home Secretary James Cleverly emphasized the importance of care workers but condemned the exploitation and manipulation of the immigration system. “We cannot justify inaction in the face of clear abuse… We promised the British people action, and we will not rest until we have delivered on our commitment to bring numbers down substantially,” he stated.

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The UK government’s plan includes measures such as requiring care providers in England to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and raising the salary threshold for skilled workers to obtain visas. Minister for Social Care Helen Whately MP added that while international care workers are invaluable, the focus should be on “a more ethical and sustainable approach” by boosting the domestic workforce through reforms and new qualifications.

The policy shift has sparked debate on the balance between protecting local jobs and acknowledging the critical role of international talent in the UK’s economy and society.

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Multi-award winning journalist/photojournalist with keen interests in politics, youth, child rights, women and development issues. Follow Lovejoy On Twitter @L_JayMut

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