The Royal College of Physicians has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement that the International Health Surcharge is to be scrapped for overseas NHS and social care workers.
The RCP called for the charge to be scrapped for these staff and their spouses and dependants as part of a ‘new deal’ for international NHS and social care staff that recognises their vital role in the frontline response to COVID-19 and the important part they will continue to play in the future.
The proposed new deal has two other asks:
- All NHS and social care staff who have worked during the pandemic, and their spouses and dependants should be given indefinite leave to remain.
- The proposed NHS Visa should be extended to social care staff.
The RCP, which represents over 37,000 medical professionals, made the call for a new deal after commissioning YouGov polling which showed clear public support for acknowledging the contributions of NHS and social care staff who have worked during the coronavirus pandemic.
Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement:
“We are delighted to see the government have paid heed to our calls for health and social care staff to be exempt from the immigration health surcharge. It has never made sense to make the very people whose jobs it is to care for our nation, pay inordinate charges to access care. But the government’s job isn’t done yet.”
“The contribution of international NHS and social care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated, and we should recognise them for their work in other ways too. We’re calling on the government to grant all of those who worked in health and care during the pandemic indefinite leave to remain and asking them to extend the proposed NHS visa to social care. Until this happens, we won’t have truly recognised just how vital international staff have been during this period.”