Zim’s Healthcare Exodus Surges 169 percent Amid Cholera Crisis


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DT Correspondent

In the face of a crippling cholera crisis and economic instability, Zimbabwe is grappling with a deepening skills crisis as a staggering number of its citizen’s flock to the United Kingdom for health and care work.

Recent immigration data from the UK reveals an alarming 169 percent surge in the number of Zimbabweans migrating for employment in the healthcare sector, exacerbating the already dire situation in the country.

Amid soaring inflation and widespread joblessness, Zimbabweans are seeking refuge abroad, with critical workers, including healthcare professionals and teachers, leading the exodus in search of better pay and improved working conditions.

The latest immigration figures from the UK lay bare the magnitude of the crisis.

In the span of 12 months leading up to September, a staggering 21,130 Zimbabweans were granted visas to work in the UK’s healthcare system.

This marks a staggering increase of 13,284 individuals compared to the previous year, underscoring a 169 percent surge.

Zimbabwe stands among the top three countries with the highest number of visa recipients, alongside India and Nigeria.

Despite Zimbabwe’s smaller population, this statistic highlights the profound loss the nation is experiencing.

Nigeria witnessed the most significant percentage increase, followed closely by Zimbabwe and India.

Among the Zimbabweans entering the healthcare field, a significant portion—16,619 individuals—assumed roles as care workers and home carers, with the remaining dispersed across various sectors of the UK’s healthcare system.

Startlingly, “Care workers and home carers” accounted for over half (58 percent) of the “Skilled Worker – Health and Care” visas granted by the UK.

Many Zimbabweans are opting to relocate with their families, as evidenced by the recorded increase in dependent visas.

The number of accompanying relatives on the “Skilled Worker” visa skyrocketed by 232 percent from 6,701 in September 2022 to 22,235 in September of this year.

Last year, the UK implemented relaxed entry rules to address skills shortages resulting from Brexit and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

For many Zimbabweans, care work became the most viable pathway to enter the UK.

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