Brexit: NHS ‘to face staffing crisis’ if government goes ahead with planned immigration clampdown

Author: Rob Merrick

The NHS will face a staffing crisis if the government presses ahead with its harsh post-Brexit immigration clampdown, Theresa May was warned today.

The body representing NHS trusts hit out at an expected minimum salary requirement of about £30,000 for all migrants, including those from the EU – to be confirmed in a long-delayed white paper today.

Ministers believe the threshold – for new five-year working visas – will cut low-skilled migration in line with what the public demanded in voting for EU withdrawal.

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But the prime minister is believed to have had to personally intervene to defeat ministers who fear the move will damage the economy and hit key sectors such as health and tech.

This morning, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, hinted at deep cabinet divisions, revealing the government would consult further on the £30,000 figure.

“We are not setting the exact threshold today,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding: “We will consult further on whether its £30,000 or thereabouts.”

The Home Office would “go away and listen to what businesses have to say” – after heavy criticism from business leaders about the likely economic damage.

Mr Javid also confirmed the document left out the discredited pledge to bring down net migration to “tens of thousands”, saying: “There is no specific target.”

The target will still exist as a manifesto pledge, but its absence is a clear sign policy has now moved away from the numbers-based approach backed by Ms May.

The news is a victory for The Independent’s Drop the Target campaign launched last year to see the policy thrown out.

Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, said NHS trusts were also “deeply concerned” about the proposals in the immigration white paper.

“We are deeply concerned about what is going to happen. High skills does not equal high pay,” she told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“You have got starting salaries for nurses at £23,000 – also for paramedics, midwives. Junior doctors starting salaries at £27,000, healthcare assistants at £17,000, all coming in way below that £30,000 cap.

“It is not just health workers, it is social care as well. We have to remember where the skills lay. They lay in those staff under £30,000.”

Pro-immigration cabinet ministers are believed to have only given way on the threshold after securing a pledge that the issue will be put out to consultation.

That is certain to prompt criticism that the proposals – already delayed by over a year, with no chance of legislation passing before Brexit day – remain a fudge.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-immigration-nhs-staffing-crisis-white-paper-may-javid-low-skilled-migration-a8690196.html