Nursing leaders Urges Government to Reconsider Visa Fee Increases for Healthcare Workers”

Nursing leaders are calling on the government to scrap plans to raise the fees associated with health and care visas. They have expressed concerns that such an increase could deter healthcare professionals from considering the UK as an appealing destination for employment. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has sent a letter to the Home Secretary, expressing worries that the proposed fee hike might be financially burdensome for many healthcare workers and could serve as a substantial obstacle to retaining staff.

The RCN has highlighted that the fee for applying for a visa, allowing nursing professionals from abroad to work in the NHS or adult social care, is expected to increase significantly by 15%, reaching £551 for those who have been working in the UK for over three years. Additionally, nursing students will face a rise in their visa fees, going up by £127 to £490.

Furthermore, the cost of applying for “settlement” in the UK, indicating indefinite leave to remain, is set to surge by 20% to £2,885, as stated by the RCN. The organisation pointed out that the Prime Minister himself acknowledged the insufficient training of nurses in the country.

The RCN emphasised the presence of tens of thousands of nursing vacancies within the NHS, along with numerous gaps in social care.

In the letter, RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “These fee increases will make the UK a less attractive place to live and work for the nurses and other health professionals who make vital contributions to our health and care sector every day. Nurses and care workers, regardless of their country of origin, make a vital contribution to this country in both the care they provide and the taxes and national insurance contributions they already pay. “ They deserve to be valued and recognised. “Subjecting our much-needed internationally educated staff in the health and care sector to additional levies is not only unjust but divisive and shortsighted.”

A government spokesperson said: “We recognise the significant contribution of overseas NHS workers but must keep our immigration policies under constant review to ensure they best serve the UK and reflect the public’s priorities.

“There are already a record number of nurses working in the NHS. The health and care visa also remains significantly cheaper for eligible people working in health and social care to come to the UK with their families.”

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