Last year, the government announced the introduction of the Immigration skills charge for all Tier 2 visa applications. The policy which was to begin April 2017 meant that employers will have to pay up to £1000 per year for every skilled migrant they employ. The idea, according the Home Office was to incentivise companies to train British labour to fill those roles.
The skill charge however, does not apply to PhD-level jobs and international students switching from student visas to working visas. The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing, two leading groups in the NHS are now canvassing that the NHS is also added to the categories of those exempt from the skill charge.
The unions are wary of the current staffing problems faced by the NHS, fearing that the problem of staffing may escalate if the cost of hiring overseas skilled workers are increased; especially at a time when the NHS is facing funding cuts from the government.
The government have reiterated its stance that the introduction of the skills charge was and still is to encourage home-grown skills. The government have also suggested that funds raised from the levy will be reinvested back into the NHS. The unions on the other fear that lack of guarantees may hamper implementation.
An example given on the British Medical Association's website - If a hospital planned to employ a doctor from a non-European country for a period of 5 years, the hospital will need to pay no less than £5,000 upfront in addition to visa and immigration fees for a Certificate of Sponsorship.
According to the Union, the motive of the government which is to encourage businesses to train home grown cannot and should not be applied to the NHS as it will continue to rely on doctors from outside the UK because of the time it takes to train a senior doctor.
The unions also argue that there are limited places at medical schools in the UK that will be sufficient to meet the demands of the UK population. Therefore even if the government NHS were to try to train persons present and settled in the UK, demand will still continue to exceed supply.
Reiss Edwards can help with a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and Tier 2 Visa if you are looking to make an application. We can also assist you should you be looking for advice on how to remain compliant. Please call one of our Tier 2 visa lawyers today on 020 3744 2797 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org