The Immigration Health Surcharge is a fee paid by international nursing staff who are coming to work in health and care services across the UK, and each member of their family.
On Wednesday 21 November, MPs voted in favour of increasing the Health Immigration Surcharge from £200, up to £400.
A nurse, midwife or health care assistant must pay the surcharge for each family member for every year of their working visa. What’s more, the surcharge cannot be paid in instalments throughout the year – it has to be upfront.
This is a crippling price to pay – especially for those who are working in our health and care services.
Non-EEA nursing staff already pay national insurance and Income Tax, as well as directly contributing to our health and social care services through their work. It is unfair to ask them to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.
This short-sighted decision has come when nursing staff shortages are threatening the quality and safety of patient care and nursing vacancies are increasing.
We know that since 2016, EU nurses joining the NMC register have fallen by 91% causing us to further rely on our international nurses.
The UK Government’s decision to increase the Immigration Health Surcharge doesn’t value the contribution of overseas nursing staff to keeping our patients safe or their skills and knowledge.
The UK Government must take action to recognise the valuable contribution international nurses make to the NHS and health and social care and drop this policy immediately.