Tuesday 14 July 2020 1:35 AM UTC
LONDON July 14: The UK government on Monday laid out further details of its new points-based immigration system to come into force from January 1 next year, described as a “fairer, firmer, skills-led” regime that would treat nationals of all countries at par – a move welcomed by Indian industry.
Home Minister Priti Patel has confirmed that there will be fast-track visas for health workers coming into the country – but care staff have been left out in a move Labour branded ‘disgusting’ and evidence ministers had ‘learned nothing’ from the coronavirus crisis.
The new immigration system is designed to cut the number of low-skilled migrants entering Britain from the beginning of next year, but aims to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to get UK visas.
People who want to live and work in the UK will need to gain 70 points to be eligible to apply for a visa.
Points will be awarded for key requirements like being able to speak English to a certain level, having a job offer from an approved employer, and meeting a minimum salary threshold.
A health and care visa will provide a route for key health professionals to work in the UK.
However, it will not include care workers, sparking anger from Labour.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: ‘What does this Government have against care workers?
‘The latest papers on the proposed immigration system confirm that the Tories do not consider carers as skilled workers.
‘Have they learned nothing from this crisis? We will be seeking urgent clarification on this.’
Rehana Azam, national secretary of trade union GMB, said: ‘The Government’s new immigration rules are descending into an embarrassing shambles and make no consideration or acknowledgement of the vital job care workers have been doing these past few months.’
She said care homes relied on hundreds of thousands of workers from outside Europe, adding: ‘Demand on health and social care is increasing every day and the pandemic has shown just how vital these workers are, yet the Government seems intent on branding them as low-skilled and exacerbating the crisis by creating new barriers.’
But Downing Street said: ‘We want employers to invest more in training and development for care workers in this country.
‘On care workers specifically, our independent migration advisers have said that immigration is not the sole answer here, which is why we have provided councils with an additional £1.5billion of funding for social care in 2021-22, as well as launching a new recruitment campaign.’
‘We will be introducing a new-fast track health and care visa. This will make it easier and quicker for talented global health professionals to work in our brilliant NHS and in eligible occupations in the social care sector.
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.
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.’
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