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New UK visa rules deter Bangladeshi migrants

Thousands of Bangladeshis who came to UK on care visa are unemployed
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Due to new visa regulations that prohibit them from bringing family members, immigrants who were prepared to relocate to the UK for care worker positions may decide to postpone their plans, leaving Britain with an even greater scarcity of carers.

Migrating to the UK for a role as a care worker had been Majid Ahmed’s goal since opportunities opened following the Covid-19 pandemic.

After completing a nurse aide course, Majid last year obtained the necessary documents in preparation to move from Bangladesh to the UK, including police clearance and an English test.

But his investment of time and more than £1,000 was laid to waste on 11 March this year when the UK brought in visa rules that mean care workers are unable to bring dependants when they migrate.

The measures, announced by the Government in December 2023, are intended to reduce the number of migrants coming through the care visa route and to combat abuse and manipulation of the immigration system.

Majid, who lives in the capital Dhaka with his wife and 12-month-old son, said it was heartbreaking.

“The new restrictions defeat the whole purpose of migration. I wanted to move to the UK for the sake of my child. I want him to live in a better society,” he tells Dazzling Dawn.

“I cannot leave my family behind.”

The NHS and wider UK health system has been severely understaffed since before the pandemic.

Many Bangladeshi have seized the opportunity to escape their country’s numerous problems, from high inflation, a currency crisis and deteriorating healthcare to stagnant salaries, a high unemployment rate and shortages of basic commodities.

Institutions that offer nurse aide training in Bangladesh, including the Red Cross and St John Ambulance, had recorded an increase in numbers of people studying the course, including nurses and other professionals such as teachers and bank workers.

In the year ending September 2023, 21,130 Bangladeshi were issued health and care work visas, the third highest number of any nationality after Nigeria and India, according to the Home Office.

But experts and care workers associations say the restrictions imposed by the British Government discourage care workers from working in the UK and are likely to fuel further staff shortages.

Family is what motivates many people to work and is central to their dreams and ambitions, says Shuvagata Dey, director of Lexpert Solicitors, which helps migrants in the country.

“Without family we are nothing. Care workers are creating opportunities for their families. I do not see anyone working with their family left behind,” he tells Dazzling Dawn.

“Many care workers will opt for other countries that allow them to bring their families. Family is their first priority.”

He warns the UK will face further staff shortages as a result.

“There is nothing (without) care workers bringing their family to the UK. Barring them leads to care worker shortages,” he says.

The decision by the Government to bar migrant workers from being accompanied by their spouses is an affront to the rights and dignity of migrant workers, adds Mahbubul Karim Suyed, Bangladeshi journalist in the UK.

“Migration is a human right,” he says, “countries must strive to improve the decent working conditions for everyone.”

Papiya Chandra, a trained nurse aide from Sylhet, Bangladesh, says that if an opportunity to move to the UK comes she will take it, but leaving her family behind will be painful.

“It is tough,” says the 30-year-old mother of two girls, who obtained necessary documents last year to migrate to the UK.

She says if she gets a job offer in another developed country she will not move to the UK.

Majid has already started the process of moving to Australia instead.

“I no longer see the UK as a favourable destination. I have accepted that I wasted my money in getting all the paperwork,” he says.

Imperial Hospital Sylhet
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Daily Dazzling Dawn is the first and only international and non-profitable newspaper, which is 100% ownership of professional journalists from Bangladeshi origin with 20 years of experience in global journalism. The main aim of the newspaper is promoting ethical journalism with truth, accuracy and proficiency.

Editor in Chief

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury

Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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