The Indian Government is to make representations to the UK Government over new rules which it says could lead to Indian nurses working in the NHS being forced to leave Britain.
Indian authorities are concerned about plans to increase the minimum salary for non-EU workers who want to remain in the UK on a Tier 2 visa being raised to £35,000.
After the Philippines, India supplies more nurses to the UK than any other country outside the EU with more than 15,000 working to fill skills shortages in the NHS. NHS nurses are paid salaries of between £21,000 and £28,000 a year, and those from overseas will not be eligible to remain long-term in the UK when the new regulations come into force in April next year.
India’s Minister of State for Overseas Indian Affairs, V K Singh, said: “The High Commission of India is in touch with the UK authorities to ascertain the impact of the changes in immigration rules on Indian nurses in the UK.”
The High Commission is also speaking to other Indian associations in the UK ahead of making a presentation to the British Migration Advisory Committee on the planned new income threshold.
The UK’s Royal College of Nursing has already produced a report warning that thousands of nurses from non-EU countries will be forced to leave Britain if the new rule is brought in. There are concerns that this could leave both NHS services and private healthcare providers with a shortage of properly skilled staff.
Healthcare is just one of the sectors to raise fears about the new salary requirements. The UK’s digital and technology industry has also flagged up potential problems, especially for start-up companies that require overseas talent, and the Indian restaurant trade has pointed to difficulties in recruiting UK chefs with the necessary skills.