TORY plans to ban overseas care workers from bringing family members to the UK have been described as “populist idiocy”.

The UK Government laid an order in the House of Commons on Wednesday, starting the process to stop care workers from bringing loved ones with them if they take up employment in the UK.

The ban is set to come into force on March 11, with increases in the salary threshold required for overseas workers set to begin on April 4.

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The amount a spouse or partner will be required to make before being granted a visa to live in the UK will start at £29,000, before eventually reaching £38,700 by “early 2025”.

But the first stage of Home Secretary James Cleverly’s plans began on Monday with the order laid in Westminster.

Announcing the move on Twitter/X, he claimed that it is “one part of our plan to deliver the biggest-ever cut in migration”.

However the SNP decried the move and said it will have a detrimental impact on the care sector, already heavily impacted by Brexit.

The National:

Westminster leader Stephen Flynn (above, right) said: “This will damage the care sector, the NHS and the economy. It is populist idiocy.”

Scottish Minister for Social Care Marie Todd said: "We have been clear in our opposition to the UK Government's ‘hostile environment’ migration policies.

“The care sector is one of the most badly impacted by Brexit, with many valued staff choosing to leave Scotland as a result – and the UK Government’s attempt to ban overseas workers from bringing family members with them will damage our care sector further, by deterring workers from coming here.

“We will continue to oppose these plans and call for a migration system which works for Scotland by supporting a stronger economy and better public services.”

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Minister for Independence Jamie Hepburn shared his reaction to the post, writing: "Thanks to Brexit our care sector struggles to recruit in a way it didn’t before and now we have this idiocy as part of their race to the bottom hostile environment 'stop the boats' rhetoric that does nothing other than damage our economy and public services.

"This latest UK Government announcement does nothing other than threaten good quality social care for those who require it. There is another way on migration as laid out in the @scotgov Building a New Scotland paper on the issue."

SNP health spokesperson Amy Callaghan MP added that it would put workers off coming to Scotland.

"Yet again, Westminster is imposing an utterly reckless and mind-numbingly stupid migration policy on Scotland, which will damage our care sector, NHS and economy by deterring frontline care workers from coming to Scotland,” she said.

"It's populist idiocy designed to appeal to the Tory far-right - at Scotland's expense.

“It shows why Scotland needs the full powers of independence to build a migration system that works for our NHS and economy - rather than leaving Scotland's future under Westminster control.

"Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer are both wedded to Brexit, austerity cuts, creeping NHS privatisation and hostile migration policies that will harm Scotland. In contrast, the SNP will always stand up for Scotland's values, our NHS and our democratic right to choose our future."

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UK legal migration minister Tom Pursglove previously defended the plans as “proportionate”.

The UK Government has said that approximately 120,000 dependants accompanied 100,000 care workers and senior care workers in the year ending September 2023.

Pursglove said these numbers are “disproportionate” and “undoubtedly of concern”.

The National:

“We need to have a more manageable approach to this,” he told the PA news agency in January.

The vacancy rate in social care is currently at around 9.9%, the equivalent of around 152,000 empty positions on any given day, with care providers stating explicitly that overseas workers are crucial to staffing.

Unison’s head of social Gavin Edwards said that care companies “simply couldn’t function” without migrants.

“Firms have to recruit from overseas because the Government’s done nothing to solve the care staffing crisis,” he said previously.

“Ministers’ reckless changes to immigration policy spell disaster for social care. Until pay rates rise substantially, there’ll never be enough UK-based recruits to plug the huge hole in the care workforce.”