I have recently had several constituents email me regarding the immigration health surcharge and nurses.
This was in response to proposals by the Government for the immigration health surcharge to be doubled, meaning that the surcharge for temporary migrants from outside the European Economic Area would rise to £400 per person per year, with the rate for students rising to £300 per person per year.
I do not believe that the concept of immigration health surcharges, particularly given these increases, is fair. The majority of migrants are taxpayers, so they will effectively be paying twice for the NHS treatment they receive. This is on top of costs associated with applying for visas, which have skyrocketed in recent years.
It is particularly unfair that the government has refused to exempt nurses and their dependents from the surcharge. Nurses, midwives, and other healthcare professionals do a fantastic job in extremely challenging circumstances. At a time when the UK is facing significant NHS staffing shortages, we desperately need to attract doctors and nurses from abroad. Therefore, for the health service to work in the best interests of patients, we must ensure that nurses feel valued and supported as an essential part of the NHS.
I can assure you that I will continue to oppose the government and argue against these unfair proposals.