Home Secretary sets out new immigration rules for health workers, students and criminals

13 July 2020, 12:01

The Home Secretary has announced the new immigration rules
The Home Secretary has announced the new immigration rules. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed plans for a health and care visa under the UK's new points-based immigration system after freedom of movement ends in January.

In a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons, she said: "At a time where an increased number of people across the UK are looking for work, the new points-based system will encourage employers to invest in the domestic UK workforce, rather than simply relying on labour from abroad.

"But we are also making necessary changes, so it is simpler for employers to attract the best and brightest from around the world to come to the UK to complement the skills we already have.

"It will be simpler for businesses to access the talent they need as we have removed the Resident Labour Market Test, lowered the skills and salary threshold, and removed the cap on skilled workers."

The Home Secretary said the Government would introduce a new-fast track health and care visa.

Ms Patel said it would make it "easier and quicker for talented global health professionals" to work in the NHS and in eligible occupations in the social care sector.

She revealed the visa fee will be reduced and health professionals applying can expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment.

The Home Secretary also announced the controversial Immigration Health surcharge would not apply to workers in the health and social care sectors.

She said: "We will exempt frontline workers in the health and social care sector and wider health workers from the requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge."

Patel: wage won't be the determining factor in new immigration laws

The Government is also "refining" the visa process for students and launching a graduate route next summer, the statement said, adding: "The student route will be streamlined for sponsoring institutions and applicants, and the graduate route will help retain the brightest and the best students to contribute to the UK post-study."

What is the immigration health surcharge?

Meanwhile, foreign criminals who have been jailed for more than a year could be banned from coming to Britain under the new immigration rules, Government papers confirm.

A policy document setting out more information on the proposed points-based immigration system said: "A robust and consistent approach to applying the UK criminality thresholds for the refusal of entry, permission to remain in the UK, deportation and exclusion, to EU and non-EU citizens, will be taken as part of the Points-Based System."

It added that those seeking to come to the UK can be refused where they have:

- A conviction with a custodial sentence length of at least 12 months;

- Committed an offence which caused serious harm;

- "Are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law;

- "Their character, conduct or associations means their presence is not conducive to the public good."