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Government Urged to Let NHS Off Overseas Worker Fee

Health unions have backed the NHS to be made exempt from the new Immigration Skills Charge, which will be coming into effect in April.

Both the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have urged the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, to protect the health service from the £1,000 charge, which will be payable on overseas doctors and nurses.

This fee applies to any worker coming to the UK from outside the European Union and is another threat to the already overstretched NHS budget. The fee is a large amount for a GP practice or a hospital to cover if planning on recruiting from overseas.

The government has said it is committed to building home-grown skills, but a recruitment shortage on both nurses and GPs means employing overseas workers is very common, and unions are concerned that staffing issues could be made worse by implementing the charge.

The BBC has reported that unions say the government may reinvest funds raised from this charge into the NHS - but no guarantees have been made.

The £1,000 charge, which is payable upfront for workers on Tier 2 visas, is aimed at cutting down on businesses hiring migrant workers and instead incentivises them to use British people to fill the jobs.

However, the unions have said the NHS will continue to be reliant on doctors from the EU and overseas because of the length of time it takes to train a senior doctor and the shortage of places at universities for medical students.

What do you think about this charge? How will your practice be affected if the NHS is not made exempt? Let us know in the comments section below.


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