Coronavirus crisis prompts UK government to introduce fast track NHS visa system

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
Priti Patel, home secretary. Photo: Broadcast
Priti Patel, Britain's home secretary. (Broadcast)

Britain’s home secretary confirmed that the UK government will introduce a new fast track NHS visa as it presses ahead with its radical shakeup of Britain’s immigration system in the wake of Brexit.

Priti Patel told parliament on Monday that "our new immigration system will make it easier and quicker for medical professionals around the world to work in the [National Health Service] NHS through a new fast-track NHS visa."

MPs are set to debate new legislation to end the freedom of movement as part of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on 19 May.

There have been fears that new legislation will pave the way for the government’s plans to significantly curb low-paid and “low-skilled” immigration, particularly from eastern and central Europe.

Read more: Coronavirus: UK government presses on with immigration bill to end free movement

The government has portrayed its plans for a “point-based system” and end to “cheap labour” as a response to the public mood underpinning Leave’s victory in the EU referendum in 2016.

Patel said previously that “this historic piece of legislation gives the UK full control of our immigration system for the first time in decades and the power to determine who comes to this country.

“Our new points-based system is firmer, fairer, and simpler. It will attract the people we need to drive our economy forward and lay the foundation for a high wage, high skill, high productivity economy.”

There have been repeated warnings that the Conservative government’s approach towards curbing immigration in the aftermath of Brexit will significantly damage the NHS and social workers.

According to a report in the British Medical Journal, published in January this year, leaders warned that proposed post-Brexit changes will harm the NHS and social care due to the salary thresholds that the government is trying to put in place.