Monday 21 September 2020 / 10:30 PM Holly Lynch / Immigration

Labour accuses Tories of breaking promises on NHS charges to care workers

Holly Lynch, Shadow Immigration Minister, has accused the Government of breaking promises to care workers as new legislation is laid to increase the Immigration Health Surcharge.

On 21 May, the Government committed to removing the Immigration Health Surcharge for health and care workers. But health and care workers who are working on the frontline are currently still required to pay the charge and be reimbursed at a later date.

A majority of care workers would also be left out of the exemptions altogether under the proposed new health and care visa.

The legislation being forced before Parliament also includes the provision to increase the Immigration Health Surcharge from £400 to £624, unaffordable for many care workers, who on average earn just £19,104. The increase would result in a family of two care workers with a child, facing a bill of up to £1,718.

Holly Lynch MP, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, said:

“This amounts to a shameful broken promise by the Government to health and care workers who have given so much at the frontline of the Covid crisis. The reality is that Ministers have been happy to clap for carers, but are now charging them exorbitant fees to use the NHS system that depends on them.

“It’s completely unacceptable to level upfront charges on low paid care workers that can amount to thousands of pounds for a family. The Government is effectively borrowing money from families without ever saying when they will get it back. This will be impossible for many to pay.”