Impact of changes to UK immigration policy clarified

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) welcomes clarification from NHS Employers about what changes to UK immigration policy will mean for the NHS and our international colleagues.

NHS Employers has published an FAQ in response to the changes to the immigration system announced by the Government.

A DAUK spokesperson said the changes caused “confusion, concern and heartache” among NHS staff and their families when they were announced by Home Secretary James Cleverly.

The spokesperson said the announcement was lacking in important detail and the language being used around the policy change has impacted international medical graduates (IMGs) already living and working in the UK, and those thinking of coming here.

In the announcement, the Government said it would “tighten the Health and Care Worker visa, which has seen a significant number of visas granted to care workers and their dependants, by preventing overseas care workers from bringing their dependants to the UK”.

NHS Employers said that these changes will only affect the care sector and not the NHS.

The Government also announced an increase in the minimum salary required for skilled workers from overseas – from £26,200 to £38,700 – and the more than doubling of income required for family visas – from £18,600 to £38,700.

These increases in salary thresholds do not apply to the Health and Care Visa route, NHS Employers said.

It also said that Health and Care Visa holders will continue to be exempt from paying the Immigrational Health Surcharge (IHS).

Read the NHS Employers changes to the UK immigration policy FAQs.

The DAUK spokesperson said: “We’re grateful for NHS Employers for clarifying many of the issues around the Government’s new immigration policy and what it will mean for people working in the NHS on a Health and Care Worker Visa.

“The Home Secretary’s announcement lacked important details about what it would mean for them and caused a lot of confusion, concern, and heartache.

“There’s no doubt that the language being used and that lack of information has had an impact on IMGs already living here and working in the NHS, and it’s bound to make people think twice about coming here in the future. 

“This at a time when there’s a staffing crisis in the NHS. There are thousands of vacant healthcare roles, and waiting lists continue to grow.

“We’re neither training enough staff nor retaining enough staff and our international colleagues are delivering vital care to people who need it.

“Without them things would be a lot worse.”