The immigration system and the NHS

A number of constituents have contacted me about the immigration system and the NHS.

We have been clear that we want all EU nationals, including those working in the NHS and the care sector, to stay in the UK after we leave the EU.

It is essential that going forward we have a strategy for immigration that suits the UK’s needs and ensures we continue to have an open, dynamic economy and a world-class health service staffed by dedicated professionals. For that reason, the Government is looking to implement a skills-based policy that will apply to both EU and non-EU migrants equally.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has suggested a salary threshold for skilled workers of £30,000. This is to ensure that migrants are making a positive contribution to the UK economy, paying into the public finances and not placing downward pressure on earnings.

Designing a comprehensive new immigration system will take time and consideration. The Government has taken on board the MAC’s proposals, while continuing to consult employers, devolved authorities and others to determine whether the threshold is at the right level. As the White Paper released before Christmas makes clear, the Government believes there should be some flexibility where skills are in shortage.

The Government also maintains a Shortage Occupation List, which identifies occupations that are in high demand and urgently need positions filled. The Home Secretary has asked the MAC to review the Shortage Occupation List. Additionally, the MAC will provide an annual report on the status of the UK’s immigration system.

We must ensure we have a migration policy that is right for the UK, including the NHS. For that reason, the Government is open to proposals and is looking extensively at how to ensure this policy delivers.

The Government has been clear that we will undertake an extensive programme of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders across the UK, including with the private, public and voluntary sector and local government, as well as industry representatives and individual businesses before taking a final decision on the level of salary thresholds.