Migrant Workers in UNISON

The Home Office granted 189,000 Skilled Worker visas (118,000) in the year up until June 2023. The four occupation groups with the most Skilled Worker visas granted were:

  • care workers (32%)
  • nurses (13%)
  • senior care workers (9%)
  • doctors (5%)

The sharp rise in visas granted to care workers followed their addition to the Skilled Worker route in February 2022. This enabled UK employers to hire from overseas to fill these roles providing they met a salary threshold of £20,960.

In December 2023, the Government announced plans, which will come into affect in April 2024 meaning the threshold for an application will rise by nearly 50% from £26,200 to £38,700 – although health and care workers will still be able to earn less before applying for the route.

The Government issued 120,000 visas to the family dependants of those care workers.

There are currently 152,000 vacancies in the Health & Social Care which is down 7% on the current year, largely due to introduction of the Skilled Worker Visa for Care Workers being added to the Shortage Occupation List.  The Care Sector currently has the highest vacancy rate in any UK Economy.

Read the Government’s initial announcement here Home Secretary unveils plan to cut net migration – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Government has since published more information, which can be found here Net migration measures – further detail – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What UNISON is saying about the treatment of our Migrant Workers in Health & Social Care

General Secretary’s Blog: The final hammer blow to our crumbling social care system

General Secretary’s Blog: The shocking treatment of migrant workers harms us all

Government must drop cruel migrant curbs and end exploitation in social care

Cruel migration plans are a disaster for health and social care

Jenrick plan to cap migrant workers would collapse care system