UK work permit changes to impact health services

30 Mar 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Government estimates suggest that proposed limitations on salaries for UK work permit applicants could have a negative impact on the country's healthcare system.

The coalition's data suggests that plans to prevent non-European Union immigrants from staying in the UK unless they earn more than £35,000 could have a "significant impact" on the country's healthcare system.

An impact assessment read: "We estimate 48 per cent of migrant nurses, 37 per cent of primary school teachers, 35 per cent of IT/software professionals and nine per cent of secondary teachers would be excluded."

The proposed increases in salaries are due to come into effect in 2016 and will preclude the majority of nurses from applying for work permits.

Damian Green, UK immigration minister, claimed that the government's "radical reforms" are designed to regain control of immigration. He elaborated: "These changes represent real progress on our promise to bring immigration back to sensible, sustainable levels, and to bring in only those migrants who can make the greatest contribution to life in the UK."

However, a number of immigration think tanks and business groups have criticised the proposals, suggesting that they are likely to have a negative impact on the British economy.

Gail Adams, head of nursing at Unison, remarked: "The government should think again about these restrictions on overseas nurses. They have cut the number of nurse training places by 20 per cent over the last two years, which means we will not have enough qualified nurses to cover those coming up to retirement."

She added that the "crude restrictions" will exacerbate current issues and "create skill shortages in the future".