The Tories' visa plan is a pay-to-work tax on nurses - making staff shortages worse, say Liberal Democrats
Cllr Dr Wendy Taylor, parliamentary candidate for Newcastle East, who also speaks for Newcastle Liberal Democrats on health issues, has slammed the Tories for creating an additional "Nurse Tax" on EU citizens who come to the UK to work for the NHS.
The new Tory policy extends the Immigration health surcharge of £400 to EU health professionals coming to the UK to work in our NHS.
The fee, which is £400 per person per year, under Conservative plans could be payable directly out of doctors' and nurses' salaries.
This would mean an NHS worker from the EU with a family of four, would be expected to pay £8000 over five years. This is on top of the upfront visa application cost of £464 per person or £1856 for a family of four.
Dr Taylor said: "The Conservatives have effectively created a new Nurse Tax. It is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU.
"The NHS currently relies on 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses from elsewhere in the EU, and we've already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years.
"Brexit is making the nursing crisis worse, and the only response the Tories can offer is a new Nurse Tax on people who want to help us.
"The Liberal Democrats have the solution to the nursing crisis: Stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our precious NHS."
The facts : The Health Immigration surcharge is £400, which is for every year of a visa - 5 year visa equals £2000 for Health surcharge https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay
Therefore for a family of 4, living in the UK for 5 years, the health surcharge would be £8000.
For a nurse working in the NHS, paying this back under the Conservatives scheme, over 5 years would cost £1600 from their yearly wage (cost for a family of 4)
Immigration visa fee is £928 - this would be halved under NHS scheme so the fee is £464.
For EU nurses, and other health professionals, who do not currently pay the health surcharge or visa fees, the Conservatives scheme to charge halved visa fees (Costs will reduce from £928 currently to £464) in addition to the health surcharge, would mean an EU nurse will now have to pay £864 to work in the NHS for the first year and £2464 for five year
If an EU nurse came with their family (family of 4), they will now have to pay £1856 as an upfront cost in visa fees and £8000 in Health surcharge for 5 year visa. That is an overall additional cost £9856 total