Sunday 23 August 2020 / 10:30 PM Holly Lynch / Immigration

Released figures show that NHS Trusts have been charged over £15 million when hiring overseas specialist staff by the Tory Government since 2017

Released figures show that NHS Trusts have been charged over £15 million when hiring overseas specialist staff by the Tory Government since 2017

A freedom of information request by the Labour Party has found that NHS trusts have had to pay extortionate fees through the immigration skills charge in order to fill vital specialist roles that have been left vacant through domestic skills shortages.

  • At present, 52 out of the 224 NHS hospital trusts in England have responded to the freedom of information request; asking how much they are paying to government in the immigration skills charge, when forced to recruit overseas specialists.
  • In total, the 52 trusts have cumulatively paid £15,549,944 through the charge since 2017.
  • Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has been the worst hit, paying £2,007,000 since 2017.
  • 3 Trusts have paid over £1 million since 2017.
  • Barts Health NHS Trust has paid £1,287,000 since 2017.
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust has paid £1,224,509 since 2017.
  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust has paid £1,130,000 since 2017.

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

“The immigration skills charge is a stealth tax on our NHS, which is nothing short of an outrage.

“Local NHS trusts require specialists from overseas, yet the Tories are punishing hospital budgets for their own failure to train enough skilled staff.

“The irrationality of the immigration skills charge for NHS trusts has been underlined by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Conservative Government should be doing all they can to support the NHS. Instead, they are presenting trusts with an unenviable choice: either leave life-saving specialist roles unfilled or fork out expensive fees for overseas staff.”