Stressed healthcare worker depicting the NHS recruitment and retention crisis

Visa fee hikes will ‘deepen’ NHS staffing crisis, RCN says

The visa hikes for international healthcare workers will “deepen” the NHS staffing crisis, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned in a letter to the home secretary, Suella Braverman.

The letter – which was penned by RCN’s general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen – sought to draw attention to some of the negative effects of the price increases on the health service’s recruitment and retention efforts.

Health and care visa applications are set to rise by 15%, with overseas nursing students set for a 35% increase. This is in addition to the cost of applying to stay in the country indefinitely also being subject to a 20% hike to £2,885.

This is against the backdrop of more than half (53%) of the people joining the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in the last year being internationally trained.

                                                                      Video credit: Canva

“Nurses and care workers, regardless of their country of origin, make a vital contribution to this country in both the care they provide and the taxes and National Insurance contributions they already pay,” wrote Cullen. “They deserve to be valued and recognised.”

“Subjecting our much-needed internationally educated staff in the health and care sector to additional levies is not only unjust but divisive and short-sighted.”

Cullen concluded her address, which was also sent to health secretary Steve Barclay, by urging the home secretary to revoke the changes.

Cullen extended an open invitation to discuss these matters more at a further meeting.

To read the full letter, click here.

For more insight into how the NHS can propel its workforce, register for National Health Executive's NHS Workforce 2024 virtual event.

Image credit: iStock

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