The government has today (21 May) announced that health and care workers will be made exempt from paying the immigration health surcharge.
The unfair fee, which sees all migrant nursing staff who come to the UK from non-EEA countries pay £400 a year for the NHS, was due to increase to £624 a year from October.
The RCN has repeatedly called on the government to exempt health and care staff from the charge, arguing that it is unfair and unjust, and represents an unnecessary financial burden on staff.
It was raised as an issue by members at the RCN’s annual Congress in 2018 and the College has fought tirelessly for the fee to be waived for nursing staff, and their dependents, ever since.
RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: "Scrapping the immigration health surcharge is something our members have been demanding for two years. I welcome the news on their behalf, but it is a shame it took this pandemic for the government to see sense.
"Of course, nursing staff will only breathe a sigh of relief when they hear the details of how the surcharge will be lifted.
"Overstretched health and care services will struggle to pay this from their existing budgets and government must consider that. Any action must not be limited to the NHS."