Labor has “no plans” to allow healthcare workers’ visas to include family members | Immigration and asylum

Labor has “no plans” to change the rules banning health and care workers from bringing their families to the UK on their visas, despite NHS staff plummeting since the rules were changed. rules earlier this year.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, said the health service had become too reliant on foreign staff and the party would aim to recruit and train UK workers.

The number of visa applications for health and care workers has fallen by 76% this year since the change, which the government hailed as a success in its bid to reduce legal migration but which experts said would have a significant impact on the health service.

The development comes as the government on Wednesday confirmed in writing for the first time that no asylum seekers will be flown to Rwanda ahead of the general election.

At an election campaign stop in Worcester, Streeting told reporters that the NHS workforce was under enormous pressure, but said there were no plans to change the rules.

He said it was also “immoral and unethical” to recruit from countries with severe shortages of health workers (those on the WHO red list) and said the Labor Party would not continue the practice.

“I’m not aware of any plans by Yvette Cooper to change those rules,” Streeting said. “Obviously we are working very closely together and I want to make sure that by developing our local talent it helps Yvette reduce net migration.”

He added: “I think that under the Conservatives, we have been over-reliant on international students and workers in our health and care system. And that’s risky because we have a global shortage. Therefore, we should not assume that there will always be a pool of talent that we can draw on.

“We are still turning away thousands of straight-A students from studying medicine each year. That is something we have to remedy. We have to restore the balance.”

The government introduced the dependents ban in March in an effort to reduce migration levels. Health and social care providers have warned the move could push people out of the sector, exacerbating staffing difficulties.

Meanwhile, at the Royal Court of Justice, government lawyers told a judge that the government “has no intention of carrying out forced expulsions to Rwanda before the general elections on July 4, 2024.”

The confirmation will offer possible respite to more than 100 asylum seekers who have been warned they could be airlifted to Rwanda at short notice. Sunak’s deportation plan to Rwanda will be scrapped by the Labor Party if it forms a government after the election.

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Judge Martin Chamberlain issued an injunction Wednesday after demanding a flight date so he could determine when to hear a legal challenge by the FDA union against the deportation plan.

The court order read: “After considering letters from the government legal department dated 28 May 2024 (stating that the government has no intention of carrying out forced deportations to Rwanda before the general elections on 4 July 2024) and May 29, 2024 (who state that they are not making representations that the hearing set for June 6 should be postponed) the hearing set for June 6, 2024 will proceed as indicated.”

The move follows comments last week in which Sunak appeared to admit that flights from Rwanda would not take off before the election.

The government has spent £310m on the Rwanda scheme since it was proposed by Boris Johnson and Priti Patel in 2022. Another £200m would be spent over the next three years if 300 people were sent to Rwanda, he said the National Audit Office.

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