The shadow home secretary has accused the government of “rank hypocrisy” as he criticised the effect of new immigration legislation on the NHS.
The Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill is part of the move towards a new points-based immigration system, replacing EU freedom of movement rules in the UK, and will be debated by MPs today.
Labour’s Nick Thomas-Symonds said the Bill makes overseas workers feel unwelcome and risks the NHS not being able to fill roles.
“It is rank hypocrisy towards our NHS and care workers, over 180,000 in England and Wales alone, to stand and clap for them on a Thursday night, and then tell them that they are not welcome in the UK on a Monday,” he said.
The Torfaen MP added that the Bill labelled workers such as retail staff, carers and refuse collectors as low-skilled - “The very same workers who have been keeping this country running throughout the crisis,” he said.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new immigration system was “firmer, fairer and simpler”.
She tweeted today: “In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever for the Government to deliver on promises with clarity and conviction. We promised we would end free movement and restore trust in the immigration system. Our Immigration Bill will do just that.”
Government officials have said a new fast-track NHS visa will make it easier and quicker for medical professionals around the world to work in the health service.
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