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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Dias

Cherry picking?

The potential impact on the filipino community of Robert Jenrick's proposed immigration law changes to the Skilled Worker and Health & Care worker route.

In the vibrant tapestry of the UK's multicultural society, the Filipino community stands out for its significant contributions, particularly in the healthcare and social care sectors. As a solicitor specialising in immigration and family law at Lawyery, a firm I co-founded with Christopher Dias, my professional journey has been deeply intertwined with the welfare of this community. Our practice at Lawyery is dedicated to providing smart, strategic legal assistance, navigating the complexities of immigration laws to safeguard the interests of our diverse clientele.

The UK's current immigration landscape is undergoing potential seismic shifts, with Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick's recent proposals stirring widespread concern, especially among Filipino migrants. Although these proposals are yet to crystallise into official policy, their ramifications, particularly concerning family visas and skilled workers' rights to family reunification, warrant close attention.

Central to these proposals is the plan to increase the minimum salary threshold for work visas to £35,000 or putting a cap on visas for social care, which in theory will restrict the numbers of workers and employer can sponsor. A more controversial proposal he has put forward is to restrict the ability of some workers from bring family members to the UK with them. Mr. Jenrick is perversely targeting the very Health and Social Care workers that the country so desperately needs, to bear the brunt of this family restricting policy. This change, seemingly a response to burgeoning net migration figures, could disproportionately impact the Filipino migrant community, who are drawn to working in the Health and Care sector. The nuances of this policy shift are not just economic but deeply personal, as many Filipino workers in caregiving roles may find that this barrier could significantly restrict their ability to bring over family members, including spouses and children, potentially fracturing family units and disrupting long-term settlement plans in the UK. The Government is, in effect, cherry picking the migrants who it deems worthy to bring their family to the UK.

The inability to bring family members to the UK is not just an administrative hurdle; it deeply affects the mental well-being and social stability of Filipino migrants. For many, the prospect of living in the UK without their loved ones is a source of significant stress and anxiety. The emotional and psychological impacts of such separation can be severe, leading to decreased productivity, increased feelings of isolation, and a sense of disconnection from their cultural roots. Furthermore, these policy changes can be seen as a form of 'cherry-picking', where the UK selectively allows certain migrants based on their economic utility, disregarding their personal and familial needs. This approach not only undermines the principles of family unity and social cohesion but also neglects the mental welfare of migrants, who contribute immensely to the UK’s key sectors.

In this evolving scenario, my advice to Filipino migrants, particularly those in skilled worker professions, is to proactively advance any plans to bring their families to the UK. The window of opportunity, as it currently stands, may narrow with the implementation of these proposed changes. This proactive approach is essential for ensuring that families can stay united and continue their contributions to UK society.

Navigating this landscape requires more than just an understanding of the legal intricacies; it requires empathy and a deep commitment to the community's well-being. As a Filipino solicitor fluent in Tagalog, my personal and professional experiences have equipped me to empathise with and effectively represent the interests of our community. At Lawyery, we are not just practicing law; we are advocating for families, for dreams, and for a diverse society where every member's contribution is valued.

The situation underscores the importance of staying informed and seeking professional legal advice. The landscape of immigration law is complex and ever-changing. As these proposals move through the channels of government deliberation, it is crucial for the Filipino community to be prepared, informed, and legally equipped to navigate these changes. At Lawyery, our commitment is unwavering: to protect our clients' rights and help them achieve their immigration goals amidst these challenging times. Our dedication goes beyond the courtroom; it's about ensuring that every Filipino migrant has the opportunity to thrive in the UK, their chosen home.


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