02 May 2024

Significant fall in Health and Care Visa applications

The Home Secretary has announced that the measures announced in December to curb migration numbers have been effective, with a significant fall in visa applications in the early months of 2024.

Home Secretary action delivering major cut in migration - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

It is extremely concerning that visa applications for the main applicants of the Health and Care Visa route were lower in March 2024 than in January 2022. See:

Monthly monitoring of entry clearance visa applications - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Care Workforce Pathway and other measures that the Government have implemented to support the domestic social care workforce have not seen an increase in the size of the domestic workforce - in fact Skills for Care reported a reduction in British workers during 2023: The State of the Adult Social Care Sector and Workforce 2023 (skillsforcare.org.uk).

The reduction in visa applications is most likely not only due to the CQC and dependants measures announced by the Home Secretary, but also due to the evidence requirements which the Home Office have in place to prove that care providers have a genuine vacancy when applying for a post - see our previous media release: Homecare Association responds to Independent Report on Home Office Failures on Care Worker Visas

With high turnover, the sector could quickly find itself facing an already high vacancy rate rising further, which will limit the capacity available to support older and disabled people to live independently in their own homes, and the ability of the NHS to discharge people from hospital. The situation in January 2022 is captured in our previous workforce survey: Continuing lack of homecare workers (homecareassociation.org.uk) 

It is vital that the Government take action to support the care workforce and fund the sector adequately so that the sector can compete with other industry sectors, recognise the skilled work that care staff deliver every day and attract domestic recruits. Current issues with the processing of Health and Care Visa applications must be resolved.  

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