In light of the recent changes the Government announced to the UK immigration policy, many IMGs living in the UK, or looking to move to the UK, are concerned the changes could impact their visas. Though the Government announced ambitions to reduce immigration to the UK, the immigration policy changes take into consideration the need for international clinicians in the NHS.
What are the changes?
The Government announced changes to the number of dependants those on Social Worker visas can bring, as well as an increase to the minimum salary threshold and some likely changes to the shortage occupation list.
Though those on Care and Social Worker visas will no longer be able to bring dependants, those coming to the UK on a Tier 2, or Skilled Worker, or a Health Worker visa, will be able to bring dependants if they can prove sufficient income to support them. The salary threshold, which was previously £18,600, has been raised to £29,000 for Tier 2 visas – though the increased salary threshold does not apply to those on Health and Care Visas, such as nurses.
The Government is also reviewing the Shortage Occupation List, and are set to end the current policy that allows employers to pay internationally employed staff 20% less than those with British citizenship. They will replace this list with a new Immigration Salary List, which will retain a general salary threshold discount.
What do these changes mean for IMGs working in the NHS?
Though several IMGs will be concerned about the changes, there are few measures that will impact those employed by the NHS. Changes to the Health and Care visa will only affect the care sector – and they will be unable to bring dependants with them to the UK. However, clinicians will be able to bring ‘dependants’ if they meet the same eligibility criteria – i.e., if they are a spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner, if they are a child in your guardianship under the age of 18, or if they are over 18 and currently in the UK as a dependant. Clarification from the Home Office is still needed on how the changes will impact those requiring an extension or renewal on their current Skilled Worker Visa – though if your dependants are already in the UK, they will be able to stay.
Changes to the Shortage Occupation List will not impact those working in the NHS. The NHS is reliant on the contributions of international medical graduates, and the service will continue to employ and support international clinicians. If you would like more guidance on the relocation process, or you are looking for a role in the NHS, please register with us here, and one of our expert team will be in contact.