Conservatives pledge to introduce fast-track visas for overseas nurses

Points-based proposal would mean reduced fee and extra points for those coming to work in NHS

Points-based proposal would mean reduced fee and extra points for those coming to work in NHS

Picture: iStock

Nurses trained overseas could be offered a fast-track, reduced-fee NHS visa to work in the UK, if the Conservative party wins the election.

The proposal for overseas-trained nurses and doctors is part of a new points-based immigration system the party has pledged to introduce.

Under the proposal: 

‘More ambitious’ plans needed to fill nursing vacancies

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘This new visa will make it easier for us to hire the finest doctors and nurses from other nations to come and work in the NHS, so that patients can receive the best possible care.’

But RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair warned ‘the devil will be in the detail’.

She said that it would take ‘more ambitious plans than this’ to address the tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs.

She said a fairer immigration system was a crucial demand the college was making in the run-up to the election, but that more emphasis on recruitment and training was also needed.

‘Failure to train enough nurses is leaving NHS and social care short-staffed and forcing us to recruit overseas in the short-term,’ said Professor Kinnair.

Social care workforce and further policy details

Unison head of health Sara Gorton, co-convenor of the Cavendish Coalition, which comprises 36 health and social care organisations, called for more action on social care.

'The social care workforce challenge is that 580,000 new staff would be needed just to keep pace with the projected growth in the population of over-65s by 2035,’ she said.

Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said: 'This policy is full of holes, with nothing about the nurses earning below their income threshold. There is also nothing about their right to bring family members here.’

In other news

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.