The BMA and RCN (Royal College of Nursing) have written to the Home Secretary to raise serious concerns over the inclusion of NHS and health and social care organisations in the list of employers who will be liable to pay the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC).
The ISC, which will be introduced on 6 April 2017, will impose an upfront charge of £1,000 per year of visa on employers who bring workers into the UK on a Tier 2 visa.
What impact will this have?
"It cannot be appropriate to divert funding away from the budget for front-line health services and the training of health professionals in this way."
Data shows that £3.5 million would be taken out of the NHS budget if the ISC was applied to the 3602 doctors who were granted Tier 2 (General) visas for one year from August 2014 to August 2015.
Health Education England, the sponsor for all doctors in training in England, would have had to pay £1,627,000 to cover sponsorship costs for their trainees for 2015-2016.
Sponsors will continue to face similar charges every year when they take on new staff who are on visas. For example, Health Education England will have to find around £1,600,000 every year from their budget.
The BMA’s response
The BMA and RCN have called on the Home Secretary to exempt the NHS and the wider health and social care system from the charge.
This follows BMA lobbying in 2016 which contributed to an exemption to this charge being introduced for PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas (tier 4) to working visas (tier 2).
Read the letter
NHS could lose millions to immigration charge (BMA news)
NHS could lose 25,000 workers because of Brexit (The Times)
Let NHS off charge for overseas doctors (BBC News online)
Charging immigrants could cost NHS millions (Huffington Post)