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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Nigerians express outrage over UK ban on healthcare workers bringing dependants

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The Government of the United Kingdom has barred emigrating health and care workers from bringing along dependants.

The UK Home Office made this known in a statement published on the government’s website on Monday.

It described the development as a new law “to cut migration and tackle care worker visa abuse,” stating that a disproportionate 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 workers to the country in 2023.

“Care providers in England acting as sponsors for migrants will also be required to register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the industry regulator for Health and Social Care – in order to crack down on worker exploitation and abuse within the sector,” the statement reads in part.

“It forms part of a wider package of measures, which is being implemented as soon as possible, which means a total of 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would now not be able to do so.”

Nigerians react

The announcement of the new policy has generated a wide range of reactions among Nigerians on social media.

In his comment, a Nigerian UK-based lawyer, Dele Olawale on his X account, @dolawanle, described the policy “as a home breaker and life destroyer.”

Mr Olawale said many marriages will be ruined, saying “many sold their belongings to relocate to the UK either as students or skilled workers.”

Also, Harvey Olufunmilayo with his X handle, @DrOlufunmilayo said, “I do not understand or endorse this particular policy as it makes zero sense to me.

“How can you say you want people to leave their countries to come to care for your families but you want the same people to leave their own families back in their home countries?

“Again it makes zero sense to me, but it is not my job to tell another country how to run their country. Their country, their choice.

“We as Nigerians only need to fix our own country so we would never be in this sort of situation where our lives and future will depend on the whims and caprices of another country’s decisions and policies.”

Impact on Nigerians

Another X user @Adasu_d_gr8 observed that the new policy will “affect Nigerians the most because Nigerians are the major people leaving this country because of our leaders in search of greener pastures.”

This is as the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Muhammad Pate revealed on Sunday that about 16,000 doctors in Nigeria left the country in the last five years and about 17,000 have been transferred.

Mr Pate, during an interview on Channel’s TV, Sunday, noted that Nigeria now has only 55,000 licensed doctors to serve its growing population of over 200 million.

According to the Minister, Nigeria has about 300,000 health professionals, including doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, laboratory scientists, and others.

“We did an assessment and discovered that we have 85,000 to 90,000 registered Nigerian doctors. Not all of them are in the country,” he said.

“Some are in the Diaspora, especially in the US and UK. But there are 55,000 licensed doctors in the country.”

Sustainability reason

In the publication on its website, the UK Home Secretary, James Cleverly, explained why the country cannot sustain the migration numbers.

Mr Cleverly was quoted to have said: “Care workers make an incredible contribution to our society, taking care of our loved ones in times of need. But we cannot justify inaction in the face of clear abuse, manipulation of our immigration system and unsustainable migration numbers.

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“It is neither right nor fair to allow this unacceptable situation to continue. We promised the British people action, and we will not rest until we have delivered on our commitment to bring numbers down substantially.”

He added that there is clear evidence that care workers have been offered visas under false pretences, traveling thousands of miles for jobs that simply don’t exist.

Also, the Minister for Social Care, Helen Whately, said the rules provide a “more ethical and sustainable approach to international recruitment and immigration.”

“Our reforms will grow the domestic workforce and build on our success over the last year that saw more people working in social care, fewer vacancies and lower staff turnover,” Ms Whately was quoted.

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