You may have heard in the news these last couple of weeks, that Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to launch a new visa, the NHS Visa. So, what exactly are the government’s plans for this visa, what will it entail?
The new proposed visa will ultimately form part of the Conservatives’ planned points-based immigration system after Britain leaves the EU. The new scheme will be half of the current cost, going from £928 to £464 for health professional to apply and applicants will be guaranteed a decision within two weeks. The NHS workers applying through this route will then have access to some form of payment system to repay the immigration health surcharge in instalments via their salary once in the UK.
The Conservative Government said they want to launch the scheme before the points-based system comes in, in 2021. They have already announced a fast-track visa route to attract specialists in science, engineering and technology. The Health Secretary Matt Hancock, stated that he wanted to attract “the very best talent in the world” to come to work in the NHS.“ From its inception, the NHS has recruited globally,” he said “this new visa will make it easier for us to hire the finest doctors and nurses from other nations to come and work in the NHS – so that patients can receive the best possible care.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel went on to say that: “These measures are part of our plan for an Australian-style points-based immigration system that allows us to control numbers while remaining open to vital professions like nurses.
“That means the best of both worlds – attracting talent from around the world so our NHS continues to provide brilliant service while ensuring that it isn’t put under strain by opening Britain’s borders to the entire world.” We note that this yet another claim made by politicians that a points based system will allow them to control net migration. However, the evidence would suggest in the UK’s own recent history shows that this reasoning is flawed. Ministers are still unable to provide an adequate answer as to whether the government wants immigration to go up or down, honest answers on why we need an Australian points based system are way overdue.