Most care workers from overseas will still have to pay upfront fees to help fund the NHS and wait six months for a refund, despite Boris Johnson’s promise to exempt them.

The Royal College of Nursing has hit out at a decision to opt for a reimbursement scheme for the immigration health surcharge – rather than a simple exemption – as details were finally published.

“Many staff – particularly those working in social care – will still have to pay this grossly unfair financial charge upfront in order to work in the UK,” said Donna Kinnair, the RCN’s chief executive.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

“The proposed system of reimbursement for these workers does not go far enough. They must be reimbursed immediately in full to compensate for the initial, unjust financial burden imposed.”

The Home Office is blaming the complexities of arranging a scheme for workers who arrive in the UK other than on a sponsored visa.

Officials also say the announcement is more generous than the prime minister’s original pledge, by providing refunds for anyone effect since the end of March, rather than mid-May.

On 21 May, Mr Johnson was forced to grant the exemption, for health and care workers, after The Independent revealed Priti Patel had decided the fees must stay without carrying out a promised “review”.

The £400 health surcharge, rising to £624 from this October, is also paid by spouses and children, meaning the total cost can reach £8,000 for a family of four on a five-year work permit.

The Home Office has now confirmed that the new post-Brexit health and care visa – being introduced from 4 August – will included exemption from the surcharge.

But the RCN pointed out that some nurses from overseas, and the majority of care workers, did not start work after arriving through the visa route.

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox

Register with your social account or click here to log in

The need to apply for refunds will continue even after most foreign care workers are barred by tougher immigration rules, for those arriving through a “youth mobility scheme.”

Dame Donna pointed to the burden for poorly-paid staff, adding: “The government is running out of time to resolve the issues facing the social care sector.

“If they continue to ignore the warning signs, health and care services across the UK will be put at risk, as will the care of patients and those supported by social care.”

The Department of Health and Social Care is now working to “set up operational arrangements for reimbursing health and social care staff outside the scope of the health and care visa”.

They will “commence from 1 October in six-month reimbursements”, the Home Office said.

Officials said refunds of payments made by healthcare professionals on Tier 2 visas who have paid since 31 March 2020 had already started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Trump to deliver convention acceptance speech from the White House

President Trump blasts Joe Biden’s ‘far-left agenda’ and joint ‘manifesto’ with Bernie Sanders for raising taxes and ‘killing’ the stock market President Trump on Monday confirmed that he will deliver his formal nomination acceptance speech from the White House next…

Trump leans into his ‘180,000 deaths is a statistic’ reelection strategy

In the hours after President Trump accepted the Republican Party’s nomination, public attention was largely centered on the president’s broadly deceptive speech and the willingness of the administration to violate legal statutes barring the use of the White House for…

To win the Conservative leadership, Erin O’Toole needs to be what he wasn’t in 2017

Erin O’Toole is spending the first days of his campaign for the Conservative Party leadership in Western Canada, far from the Greater Toronto Area riding he represents. In doing so, he sets up a not-so-subtle contrast with Peter MacKay’s decision…

Long lines and hand sanitizer on the first day of early voting for general election

MINNEAPOLIS — Jason Miller, a house painter in Minneapolis, had been itching to vote. So on the first day of early voting, the sun barely up on a chilly Friday morning, he became one of the first people in the…