New UK visa rules: Half fees, fast-track approval for health professionals

Diane Abbott said the Tories are'tying themselves in knots over immigration

Diane Abbott said the Tories are'tying themselves in knots over immigration

Boris Johnson is promising a new "NHS visa" making it easier for doctors and nurses from around the world to work in the UK.

The Conservative government is planning to bring in an Australian-style points-based system in 2021 after leaving the European Union in a bid to get tighter control of immigration, an issue which commentators said was a major factor in Britons voting for Brexit three years ago.

Under the new system, NHS visa costs will be reduced from £928 now to £464.

The party's frontbench said medical professionals will be given "preferential treatment" over applicants with other jobs and that decisions on their applications would be "guaranteed" within two weeks.

The move follows the government's previous announcement of a fast-track route for scientists to attract the brightest and the best to the UK's shores.

They added that extra points would "always" be given to prospective NHS employees.

The NHS visa would form part of a new points-based immigration system to be introduced after the United Kingdom completes its divorce from the European Union, Johnson's Conservative Party said in an emailed statement on Friday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he wanted to attract "the very best talent in the world" to come to work in the NHS.

"From its inception the NHS has recruited globally".

"That means the best of both worlds - attracting talent from around the world so our NHS continues to provide brilliant service while ensuring that it isn't put under strain by opening Britain's borders to the entire world", she said.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the Tories were "tying themselves in knots" over immigration.

"This policy is full of holes, with nothing to say about the nurses earning below their income threshold, as well as all the cooks, cleaners, hospital porters and others who are vital to hospitals, and nothing at all about their right to bring family members here".

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