MEDICAL professionals will be able to move into the UK from around the world easily to provide care at the NHS.
A new NHS visa will be part of the new points-based immigration system (PBIS), which the UK will be able to introduce as it is leaving the EU.
It will be designed to restore control over immigration and attract the skills the UK needs.
The move follows the government’s previous announcement of a fast-track route for scientists to attract the brightest and the best to the UK’s shores.
Under the new system, NHS visa costs will be reduced from £928 currently to £464.
Applicants will be guaranteed a decision within two weeks as the government aims to fast track the process.
Also, in the new points-based system, extra points will always be awarded for coming to work in the NHS.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “These measures are part of our plan for an Australian-style points-based immigration system that allows us to control numbers while remaining open to vital professions such as nurses.
“That means the best of both worlds – attracting talent from around the world so our NHS continues to provide brilliant service while ensuring that it isn’t put under strain by opening Britain’s borders to the entire world.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I want the NHS to offer each and every one of us the best care in the world, and so as well as expanding training at home, I want to attract the very best talent in the world to our NHS too.
“From its inception, the NHS has recruited globally. This new visa will make it easier for us to hire the finest doctors and nurses from other nations to come and work in the NHS – so that patients can receive the best possible care. It’s all part of our long-term plan to ensure the NHS is always there for you in your moment of need.”
Under the new visa system, the applicants for the new NHS visa will be able to pay back the cost of the immigration health surcharge via their salary.