NHS reliance on non-EU healthcare professionals jumps by a third since 2010
The figures come as the government’s immigration cap for non-EU skilled workers was hit for the first time this year since its introduction in 2011. The cap, which limits visas to non-EU nationals to 1,650 per month, was hit in both June and July this year, raising concerns that the NHS will increasingly be unable to meet its staffing requirements as demand for foreign nationals across the economy grows.
According to the data obtained by SJD Accountancy from the Home Office, 7,599 non-EU healthcare professionals came to the UK on Tier 2 work permits in 2014, a third higher than 2010, when 5,717 work permits were issued for healthcare workers. 6,476 Tier 2 work permits were issued to healthcare professionals in 2013.
SJD Accountancy says that the NHS has become increasingly dependent on non-EU nationals to fill salaried posts and reduce its use of locums, which has grown significantly over the past few years. The NHS in England is reported to be spending £2.6 billion a year on agency workers.