21 / 10 / 2013
The Home Office has included proposed measures that intend to regulate migrant access to health services in the recent Immigration Bill.
As the NHS Employers organisation we responded to the Home Office consultation in August 2013 on 'regulating migrant access to health services in the UK', looking specifically at the impact of these proposals on the current and future migrant workforce in the NHS.
We have subsequently written to the Home Office Director of Immigration and Border Policy, highlighting our concern with the specific proposal to place a health surcharge on migrants who are entering the UK for the purposes of employment.
Download a copy of the letter
NHS Employers' response
We are keen to ensure that the UK immigration system enables the most talented and skilled professionals to come to the UK to support our economy and public services. We are in agreement and support approaches to increase activity to identify and reduce illegal entry to the UK and health tourism.
The proposed measures apply a blanket approach to charging individuals who are in the UK for very different reasons. We would be keen to see measures of tackling abuse of the system in a more targeted way and would encourage the Home Office to consider excluding temporary migrants who are entering the UK for employment purposes.
In relation to the NHS we would support an approach that exempted employees entering the UK under either tier 2 or tier 5, these individuals:
- are already subject to high costs and administration charges to obtain their visa;
- contribute to the economy by virtue of their employment as a skilled professional in the NHS and living in the UK, and
- contribute tax and national insurance to the Government by virtue of their employment.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Home Office to ensure the ongoing success of a migration system which enhances the ability of healthcare providers to recruit highly skilled healthcare professionals.
We will keep employers informed of the outcomes through our workforce bulletin.