Thank you for contacting me about NHS and staffing issues. I read your email carefully and noted the points that you make.
As the UK leaves the European Union it is essential that going forward we have a strategy for immigration that suits the UK’s needs and ensures we continue to have an open, dynamic economy and a world-class health service staffed by dedicated professionals. For that reason, the Government is looking to implement a skills-based policy that will apply to both EU and non-EU migrants equally.
As you may know, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has initially suggested a salary threshold for skilled workers of £30,000. This is to ensure that migrants are making a positive contribution to the UK economy, paying into the public finances and not placing downward pressure on earnings.
But designing a comprehensive new immigration system will of course take time and consideration. That is why the Government has taken on board the MAC’s proposals, while continuing to consult employers, devolved authorities and others to determine whether the threshold is at the right level. As the White Paper released before Christmas makes clear, the Government believes there should definitely be some flexibility where skills are in shortage.
The Government also maintains a Shortage Occupation List, which identifies occupations that are in high demand and urgently need positions filled. The Home Secretary has asked the MAC to review the Shortage Occupation List. Additionally, the MAC will provide an annual report on the status of the UK’s immigration system.
I share your concern about making sure we have a migration policy that is right for the UK, including the NHS. For that reason, I want to assure you that the Government is open to proposals and is looking extensively at how to ensure this policy delivers ‘on the ground’.
Once again, thank you very much indeed for taking the time to bring your views to my attention. As ever, I will continue to monitor and scrutinise any related legislation that comes before the House.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking