NHS reforms

20.12.18

‘Extreme concern’ for NHS staffing crisis over ‘unrealistic’ immigration white paper threshold

NHS leaders have spoken out against the new immigration laws over fears that the NHS’s staffing problems will descend into crisis following the announcement of a new white paper.

Home secretary Sajid Javid announced the new post-Brexit immigration rules which will see tens of thousands of low-skilled immigrants potentially come into the UK to work for up to a year.

But the announcement attracted criticism from NHS Providers and NHS Employers due to its minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for all migrants, including those from the EU, for new five-year working visas – which they argue will affect low-skilled migration.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said the white paper proposals “do not provide a long-term solution to the needs of the NHS” and confuse high pay with high skill and high value.

He welcomed the short-term action taken during the year, but claimed he and the Cavendish Coalition were “extremely concerned” about whether the white paper would encourage the number of social care staff needed.

The deputy CEO of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, echoed this criticism, noting that providers are “deeply concerned” about how the measures outlined will impact the ability of the health and care sector to recruit the number of people it needs to meet current and future demands.

“Any salary threshold must be realistic about the starting pay for a number of vital health and care roles,” adding that “these roles are critical to the sustainability of health and care services,” she commented.

“The effect this could have on the social care sector, which is already suffering from severe workforce challenges, will be profound.”

The ending of free movement from Europe is a key part of Theresa May’s Brexit deal, and the government says the rules mean lower-skilled and unskilled immigrants will not routinely be able to come to the UK and settle permanently.

Announcing the white paper, Javid said: “Today’s proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation.

“We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK. These measures will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”

Image credit -  Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

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