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Immigration plans will ‘close the door’ to vital healthcare staff – RCN

College says new policy will shut out ‘lower-paid support workers and care assistants’
UK border passport control

College says new policy will shut out lower-paid support workers and care assistants

New immigration reforms will close the door to staff that are helping to prop up the UKs healthcare system, the RCN has warned.

The government plans to introduce a points-based system, with potential migrants having to achieve 70 points to be able to work in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Entry factors and salary requirements

Points will be accrued for factors such as proving they can speak English, having a job offer from an approved employer sponsor, and possessing qualifications equivalent of A-levels.

There will also be a minimum salary threshold of 25,600, but a salary floor of 20,480 would be accepted in sectors where there is a skills shortage, such as nursing.

The Home Office claimed that the changes will allow the

College says new policy will shut out ‘lower-paid support workers and care assistants’


Picture: Alamy

New immigration reforms will ‘close the door’ to staff that are helping to prop up the UK’s healthcare system, the RCN has warned.

The government plans to introduce a points-based system, with potential migrants having to achieve 70 points to be able to work in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Entry factors and salary requirements

Points will be accrued for factors such as proving they can speak English, having a job offer from an approved employer sponsor, and possessing qualifications equivalent of A-levels.

There will also be a minimum salary threshold of £25,600, but a salary floor of £20,480 would be accepted in sectors where there is a skills shortage, such as nursing.

The Home Office claimed that the changes will allow the UK to take ‘full control’ of its borders from 1 January 2021, when freedom of movement between the UK and the European Union is set to end. 

RCN criticises immigration policy

But RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said the plans would be detrimental to the healthcare sector.

‘They close the door to lower-paid healthcare support workers and care assistants from overseas, who currently fill significant numbers of posts in the health and social care workforce,’ she said.

Professor Kinnair also expressed her disappointment that the immigration health surcharge of £400 a year for overseas staff, including nurses, remains part of the government’s plans. 

Care home sector ‘is already very challenged’

Care home provider Canford Healthcare’s operations manager Caron Sanders-Crook expressed concern about the proposed changes for her ‘very multinational’ organisation.

‘It feels like there are going to be even more restrictions on people coming in, and we have a lot of skilled and unskilled workers that contribute – the sector is already very challenged.’

Large number of vacancies in social care

Health think tank the Nuffield Trust’s chief economist John Appleby said 90,000 more workers were needed in social care, and pointed out that countries with points-based migration systems had found they needed to make special exemptions for care workers.

There are 249,000 EU and other overseas workers in the adult social care system, according to a recent report by Skills for Care.

Home secretary Priti Patel said the planned changes were a ‘historic moment’ for the UK and would boost the economy.


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