Tory 'nurse tax' for EU citizens unacceptable, says Stone
Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, has criticised Tory plans to implement an NHS visa for European Union citizens wanting to work in the health service.
Boris Johnson plans to implement a new NHS visa as part of the Conservative party’s points-based immigration system to be introduced after Brexit.
It extends the immigration health surcharge of £400 to EU health professionals coming to the UK to work in the NHS.
But the Liberal Democrats have branded this move a "nurse tax". An NHS worker from the EU with a family of four would be expected to pay £8,000 over five years.
This is on top of the up-front visa application cost of £464 per person, or £1856 for a family of four.
Mr Stone said: "EU citizens fill vital roles in health and social care services in the Highlands.
"We should be welcoming them with open arms, not charging them to come here.
"This is outrageous treatment of those who work so hard to look after our most vulnerable and shows the Tories' lack of concern for EU citizens.
"The Conservatives have effectively created a new 'nurse tax' which is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU.
"We have already seen 5000 EU nurses leave in the last two years and this tax will only make things worse.
"The Liberal Democrats have a solution to the nursing crisis – stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our precious NHS.”