On 12 December, Britain will hold a general election and a new government may come into office, however, healthcare professionals warn that the immigration plans of the two main parties, the Conservatives and Labour, would damage Britain’s National Healthcare Service (NHS).
Research undertaken by think tanks such as Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation reveal a severe shortage in healthcare staff and a reliance on foreign workers. In England the NHS has an approximate staff shortage of 100,000. The research further reveals that the number of foreign workers is about one in four; this number has doubled since 2000/01 where the number of foreign-born workers was close to one in eight.
The research published reveals that a planned end to the freedom of movement across the EU, that will be brought by Brexit, would further damage the NHS and could lead to 6,000 fewer healthcare professionals per year. That’s 30,000 across a five-year period!
Proposed reforms to the immigration system
Healthcare professionals have insisted that there is a need to shift Britain’s immigration policy to incentivise people to come and work for the NHS.
Professor Andrew Goodard has proposed that whoever comes to power in December lower the cost of visas and health surcharge, a mandatory financial contribution migrants make to the NHS. This he maintains would help to incentives workers to come to the UK and support the NHS which is suffering greatly.
With respects to healthcare the two main parties have made bold statements as to how they will reform the UK system.
The conservatives have pledged 50,000 new nurses, however, when pushed on the matter they admitted that 18,500 of those nurses are not exactly ‘new’ but will nurses renewing their contract and staying on. This means they have effectively called for 31,500. They state that 12,500 would be recruited from abroad and 19,000 would come from training programmes in the UK.
The Labour party has pledged 24,000 more nurses and to invest in the NHS more than the Conservatives.
The Liberal Democrats, a third party, has pledged to keep Britain in the EU and to secure freedom of movement which would support the NHS’s recruitment drive.
Other industries concerned by Brexit
The ending of free movement has raised concerns amongst other industries including UK tourism, British video games developers and food producers. All of these industries are heavily reliant on foreign labour, particularly EU nationals, whose ability to live and work in the UK may be at risk if Brexit is achieved.
The Conservative government has made a bold proclamation to ‘get Brexit done’ by the end of January whereas the Labour party has insisted on a ‘people’s vote’ which, if a rejection of Brexit is achieved, will secure Britain’s membership in the EU and freedom of movement within the EU.
Come and work for the NHS
Westkin Associates is a leading British immigration law firm that has helped more than 41,000 individuals and businesses with their immigration. We have strong expertise in gaining work permits and have particular interest in supporting healthcare work permits.
It should be noted that there is no longer a cap limiting healthcare professionals from applying under a Tier 2 visa so there is a good chance your application will be accepted. However, certain fields of medicine are in greater demand and this will be worth considering as it will bear on your case. The occupations in demand will be detailed on the government’s occupation short list.
Our job is to make your immigration application as seamless as possible and we can guarantee you an easy transition to working in the UK.