NHS Employers submission to the Migration Advisory Committee

World mosaic

We have submitted our employer response to the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) call for evidence on potential future salary thresholds and an Australian style points-based system. 

Last year we recruited over 5,000 nurses from outside of the UK. The call for evidence and focus on an Australian style points-based approach provides an opportunity to create a flexible and agile immigration system, which allows the UK to continue to recruit to health and care roles across skill level in the interests of our economy post Brexit.

We have engaged widely with employers and policy makers to inform our response to the MAC, which addresses a number of key points.

  • Skilled overseas recruits typically enter the NHS at Band 5. The current band 5 entry salary (£24,214) and 2020/21 salary (£24,907) would both fall short of government's proposed £30,000 threshold.
  • It is typically unfeasible for overseas recruits to reach the required £35,800 figure to settle in the UK after five years. We've suggested the MAC consider realistic wage growth in line with agreed pay frameworks for health and social care.
  • The absence of some of the current arrangements (for example the 2015 salary exemption applicable to nurses, paramedics and radiographers) would be detrimental to the future supply of overseas staff.
  • The NHS has the highest public sector vacancy rate of 100,500 vacancies and the care sector is carrying 122,000. While we recognise and support national workforce strategies and local efforts to attract and train domestic staff, the future immigration system must enable employers across health and social care to deliver the firm commitment in the Interim NHS People Plan to increase international recruitment in the short to medium term.  

We have suggested to the MAC the following immigration models for health and care:

  • use the nationally agreed NHS pay scales within the four UK countries to determine the salary criteria for entry and settlement in the UK
  • creation of a labour shortage list, which includes health and care support worker and care worker roles.

You can read our full submission. We encourage you to labour the key messages within our response, along with local data in your own submissions to the MAC.

The consultation closes on 5 November at 9am.

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