Petition Allow those already in the UK switching to care visa to bring dependants

We want the Home Office to stop changes preventing individuals who are in the UK on any other route, including where that route permits dependants, who switch into the care visa as a care worker or senior care worker after 11 March 2024, from being able to stay with bring over dependants.

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It will affect those already in the UK and could put children at risk of separation from parents, which we believe would contravene the child's rights. This restriction could also discourage people currently in the UK from pursuing this route.

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Government responded

This response was given on 9 April 2024

Those switching to the care visa as care workers are no longer permitted to have dependants with them. The Government values the work of this sector, and existing care visa holders are protected.

Read the response in full

On 4 December 2023, the Prime Minister and Home Secretary announced a series of further measures to reduce net migration and curb immigration abuse. These measures include reducing the numbers on the Health and Care Visa by removing the right for care workers and senior care workers to bring dependants. This relates to either those applying for, or switching to, the care visa, in order to work as care workers. This requirement does not apply to other occupation codes on the Health and Care Visa.

Since the Home Office added care workers to the Shortage Occupation List and Health and Care Visa on 15 February 2022, over 100,000 visas have been issued to care workers, and they have been accompanied by an estimated 120,000 dependants. This volume of people has bolstered our care workforce but has also added pressure to our infrastructure and services. The Government remains committed to supporting the sector, and recognise the importance and benefit of international recruitment, to ensure we have a sustainable Adult Social Care workforce supply. This announcement reflects a balanced approach that the Government is taking. It will help address net migration and reports of illegitimate use of the visa route, whilst ensuring the health and care sectors are still able to recruit the valuable staff they need.

Individuals who choose to switch into a visa also choose to accept the terms and conditions of that visa. We recognise that this may make the route less attractive to those with families, but believe we still have a generous offer which will attract those without dependants, including the Health and Care Visa which makes it easier, cheaper and quicker for health workers to come to the UK compared to other immigration routes. Visa applicants pay a lower fee, they are subject to quicker processing times and also have a dedicated UKVI team that assists them with the application process. In addition, visa holders (and family members) are exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.

No measures introduced as part of this package will be applied retrospectively to people in the affected visa categories. For clarity, I can confirm that up until the point with which the Immigration Rules have effect:

• care workers and senior care workers already in the route, will be able to remain with their dependants and children born in the UK, including extending, changing employer (within these occupations) and settlement;
• where a care worker or senior care worker is in the route before the Immigration Rules change, but has not yet brought dependants, they will be allowed to bring dependants during their sponsorship (on this visa);
• care workers and senior care workers who have children born in the UK are able to apply for their children to remain as dependants.

However, individuals who are in the UK on any other route, including where that route permits dependants, who switch into the care visa as a care worker or senior care worker after this date, will not be able to stay with (or bring over) dependants.

Home Office

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