Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Theresa May faces Tory revolt over 'bonkers' immigration cap for nurses and doctors

Dozens of Tory MPs call on prime minister to relax rules 

Friday 01 June 2018 15:19 BST
Nurses in the accident and emergency dept
Nurses in the accident and emergency dept (Getty)

Theresa May is facing a potential backbench revolt over the NHS' ability to fill vacant posts with foreign workers, it has been reported.

A letter written by Heidi Allen, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, which has been signed by dozens of Tory MPs, has called on Ms May to relax immigration rules for NHS doctors and nurses.

Two-tier visas, which apply to skilled workers outside the EU, are currently capped at 20,700 a year. If the NHS wants to a hire skilled worker from outside of the EU, evidence must be provided that the position could not be filled by someone who is currently in the country.

Ms Allen has now written to Ms May calling on her to change the current system in an attempt to address the NHS staffing shortage.

“Our current tier-two policy is forcing the country to make a binary choice between professionals needed to grow the economy and professionals needed to staff our health system. Without urgent intervention, we believe our NHS is heading towards a perfect storm,” the letter says, according to The Times.

Andrew Foster, the chief executive of Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Trust, criticised the current immigration rules, describing them as “bonkers”.

“It’s absolutely barmy that one branch of Government is trying to increase the capacity of the NHS and another branch is stopping it from doing so,” he told BBC radio.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "The Government fully recognises the contribution that international professionals make to the UK and to our health service.

“However, it is important that our immigration system works in the national interest, ensuring that employers look first to the UK resident labour market before recruiting from overseas."

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in