The new points-based immigration system is unlikely to affect the NHS – but salaries in social care must rise, the former chair of the Migration Advisory Committee has said.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has just revealed the details of the scheme, which include a fast-track visa for eligible occupations in the health and social care.
Alan Manning, professor of economics at the London School of Economics, told the Today programme that new plans to include an “NHS visa” for health care workers was “probably a good idea, but not really game-changing for those sectors”, because the relatively high salary meant most jobs would come above the new salary threshold for overseas workers.
“The health care sector is predicted to be the least affected because most jobs are eligible anyway,” he said. “The NHS, although people worry about it a lot because it is incredibly important sector, is not predicted to see a big impact [from the new immigration system].
However there was a “really serious problem” in social care because “they just don’t offer competitive pay and other conditions,” he said, noting there were “plenty of [British] people able to do those jobs but they don’t want to .”
He added: “They need to find the money to pay those workers properly… Of course, it’s quite easy to say these workers deserve to be paid more – it’s a bit harder to find that money.”
But Prof Manning noted that the Government was “spending money hand over fist in all sorts of areas”, concluding they should “just raise their pay now”.