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Liberal Democrats

Scrapping the Tories’ Nurse Tax is just the start

Our long-running campaign against the cruel Nurse Tax has finally succeeded. Here’s what’s next…

By Christine Jardine, May 22, 2020 12:05

Yesterday, the Government finally U-turned and scrapped its cruel Nurse Tax on migrants working in the NHS and social care.

No longer will tens of thousands of doctors, nurses and other staff who keep our NHS going have to pay an extra £400 a year to fund it.

Those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it.

This is good news for these health and care workers and their families, and an important cross-party win against yet another heartless Home Office policy.

But exempting them from a fee they should never have had to pay doesn’t go nearly far enough to recognise the brave and tireless service of people from other countries on the frontlines of this crisis.

Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and social care staff, they are putting themselves in harm’s way to make sure we get the care we need. We cannot thank them enough.

Yet they still face the prospect of having to apply for a new visa next year, with the exorbitant fees and Home Office bureaucracy that entails, or being forced to leave the UK. That is unacceptable.

The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it.

The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

They and their families should be granted the right to settle here – indefinite leave to remain – without the costs or bureaucratic hurdles that usually involves.

This would be a small way to recognise and celebrate the enormous contributions that people from all over the world make to our NHS – and to our society, our economy and our communities more broadly.

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