Last year, the U.K. granted 140,000 visas to foreign workers, with 39,000 of them being awarded to individuals from India, according to data.

Within days, an online petition calling on the U.K. government to grant foreign healthcare workers, many of whom are from India, additional time to secure employment after their sponsors fail them, has garnered hundreds of signatures.

According to stricter regulations implemented earlier this month, care providers in England serving as sponsors for migrants must now register with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the regulatory body for Health and Social Care. This initiative, as stated by the government, aims to address abuse within the sector.

Nevertheless, the outcome of this enforcement action is that numerous workers from nations like India are left stranded when a formerly authorized sponsor loses their license, leaving them with only 60 days to secure alternative employment in the field.

“The petition, spearheaded by Balakrishnan Balagopal, a U.K.-based professional of Indian descent, emphasizes that a sixty-day notice is insufficient for families to organize their departure, presenting potential difficulties.” disruptions to their children’s schooling and incurring various expenses such as rent or deposit loss, furnishing costs, air tickets, and relocation expenses.”

“Numerous healthcare professionals who came to the U.K. find themselves jobless, as their sponsors fail to secure employment for them upon arrival or due to the absence of available positions. Additionally, certain companies lose their sponsorship licenses due to their errors. The appeal is to grant an extension of one year for unemployed healthcare workers to remain in the U.K. while they seek alternative employment opportunities.”

The petition, initiated on the U.K. Parliament website over the weekend, aims to bring attention to an urgent matter and, upon reaching 10,000 signatures, will necessitate a government response.

As per Mr. Balagopal, numerous healthcare workers who came to the U.K. to address shortages in the social care sector since 2022 find themselves in a predicament not of their own creation. Several companies that assured them employment lost their sponsorship licenses due to issues beyond the workers’ influence, while others discovered that the promised positions never came to fruition.

Healthcare crisis in the UK

Earlier this month, the U.K. The Home Office disclosed evidence indicating that care workers have been misled into obtaining visas, traveling extensive distances for non-existent jobs or positions offering wages significantly below the required minimum for their profession, leading to exploitation. In response, it aimed to tighten regulations to prevent system abuse, implementing measures such as prohibiting international care workers from bringing their dependent family members when relocating to the U.K.

“”Care workers fulfill an indispensable role in our society, providing care for our loved ones during moments of vulnerability. However, we cannot condone inaction in light of evident abuse and exploitation of our immigration system, coupled with unsustainable levels of migration. Allowing this unacceptable situation to persist is neither just nor equitable,” stated U.K. Home Secretary James Cleverly.

With letters beginning to be dispatched to those impacted in recent weeks, the repercussions of the crackdown are anticipated to affect hundreds already residing in the country, left in a The uncertain situation, not due to any fault of their own, leaves these workers in a dilemma. Sending them back to their home countries, thus leaving care facilities grappling with staff shortages, could pose significant healthcare challenges for the U.K. populace. By addressing these issues, we can safeguard the resilience of the healthcare system and its ability to cater to the needs of those it serves,” stated Mr. Balagopal, who aims for his petition to raise awareness of this injustice.

His campaign aims to advocate for authorities to embrace a more compassionate approach that tackles both the urgent social care needs of British society and the welfare of foreign workers simultaneously.

Based on official statistics from the previous year, approximately 140,000 visas were granted to foreign workers to address staffing gaps in the U.K.’s health and care sector, with 39,000 of these visas awarded to individuals from India.

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