The government is currently trying to get a bill setting out Britain’s immigration policy for after Brexit through Parliament but it has been slammed as a costly “dreadful mistake” which will suck money out of cash-strapped hospitals in a report by Global Future. The organisation said the Immigration White Paper could even see a recurrence of the Windrush scandal with EU citizens residing in the UK living in limbo about the validity of their citizenship. Global Future added if the paper is approved by the Commons it would lead to a nursing and social care staffing shortfall of 100,000.
The think tank fears the government’s £30,000 threshold on migrant salaries would leave millions of Britain’s elderly people without care as current nurses, many of whom come from abroad, do not earn that much.
The study said the government’s flagship proposals will impose an £80 million barrier to EU students hoping to study at British universities and the settled status scheme “exactly mirrors the makings of last year’s Windrush scandal but on a much larger scale”.
The report’s author, Fergus Peace, explained there were some positive aspects of the deal but there are still many issues that need ironing out.
Mr Peace said: “The White Paper includes some sensible measures, but overall it represents an unambiguous shift towards a more complex and burdensome immigration system that will damage our country’s prospects.
“First, the new visa system – with its £30,000 threshold – will put off workers the government wants to attract and keep out many we desperately need, not least the low-paid workers who keep our social care sector on its feet.
“Requiring the Europeans who are allowed in to secure sponsored visas will create a £1 billion bureaucratic headache for employers, including the NHS – siphoning hundreds of millions of pounds in visa fees out of cash-strapped hospitals and into the Home Office.”
Mr Peace also said the plans would create a “hostile environment” in the UK for migrants.
He added: “The Government presents ending free movement as the great prize at the centre of its Brexit strategy.
“But ultimately this White Paper is a plan to close ourselves off from the world.
“That’s not something to celebrate – it’s a dreadful mistake.”
Global Future’s report said the “intense bureaucracy of the Home Office’s visa system” will cost employers £1.14 billion as they try to navigate the “already creaking” new system.
Published at Mon, 11 Feb 2019 00:15:00 +0000