Comment on new Home Office Visa rules for overseas care workers

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (“the College”) is calling for the Home Office to re-think new immigration policies affecting overseas care workers.

From today (Monday 11th March) overseas care workers will be prevented from bringing their dependents to the UK, as part of new Home Office Visa rules.

This could harm recruitment in adult social care, the College says – to the detriment of patients and informal carers.

Commenting, Professor Andrew Elder, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

"We are disappointed by what we see as regressive immigration policy in relation to overseas care workers.

"Adult social care is an essential part of the healthcare system, as it enables people to continue receiving the care they need, in an appropriate setting outside of hospital.

"One of the greatest barriers to patient flow and timely discharge from hospital is the lack of staffed social care beds in the community, and the lack of care packages available for people to return home – or to another appropriate care setting. As the UK’s population continues to get older, it’s vital that adult social care is properly resourced and staffed.

"Yet the social care sector is under great strain, which is not helped by staff shortages. In Scotland, we are seeing on average one care home close per week – according to Scottish Care. On average, 52% of care workers moving jobs in 2022 left the social care sector altogether. Shortages of paid home care workers also leads to increased care demands on family and friends, who are predominantly female, and receive little support from employers with caring responsibilities for older people.

"In England, local authority leaders have warned that the decision to halve workforce funding means that frail and vulnerable people will go without the care they need.

"The new immigration polices from the Home Office may hinder, not help, care homes struggling to fill vacancies and it is members of the public – both those who receive care and those who provide it - who could suffer the most."


1. Further information on the care workforce in Scotland can be found here.
2. Further information on what local authority leaders in England said about workforce funding can be found here.