Tory nurse tax ballooning due to immigration health surcharge rise, will make severe staff shortages in NHS worse
Dr Wendy Taylor, the Liberal Democrats candidate for Newcastle East, has slammed reports that Boris Johnson's Conservatives have pledged to make all those permanently relocating to the UK to pay an increased surcharge of £625, further increasing what was dubbed by the Liberal Democrats the 'nurse tax'.
The 'nurse tax' was the policy outlined just last week by the Tory Party that the Immigration health surcharge and immigration visa fee were being extended to EU health professionals, coming to the UK to work in the NHS.
Following these announcements, Dr Taylor said:
"The Tory nurse tax is ballooning due to the immigration health surcharge rise announced today and is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU.
"The NHS relies on 20,000 EU nurses, 10,000 EU doctors, and we've already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years. Without EU doctors and nurses our NHS would not be able to function and our loved ones would not receive the care they need.
"Equally, the Health Secretary's comments are heartless. He should know better than anyone how important international workers are to our NHS.
"For him to say that these doctors and nurses are not making a fair contribution towards our NHS is appalling. And for the Conservatives to charge people even more money to work in our NHS - when we are already struggling with severe staff shortages - is irresponsible and absurd.
"The Liberal Democrats have the solution to the NHS staff crisis: stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our NHS".
The Health Immigration surcharge is currently £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
Under the Conservatives' plan to raise it to £625, for a family of 4, living in the UK for 5 years, the health surcharge would be £12,500.
For a nurse working in the NHS, paying this back under the Conservatives scheme, over 5 years would cost £2,500 from their yearly wage (cost for a family of 4).
The one-off Immigration visa fee is currently £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 extend the visa fees to EU workers in addition to the new health surcharge, would mean an EU nurse will now have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years.
If an EU nurse came with their family (family of 4), they will now have to pay £1,856 as an upfront one-off cost in visa fees and £12,500 in Health surcharge for 5 year visa. That is an overall additional cost of £14,356 total.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock has tweeted "It's the National Health Service not the International Health Service. Everyone should make a fair contribution towards our NHS - so after Brexit we'll extend the NHS surcharge to all non-UK residents."