Proposed new post-Brexit immigration rules have been released by the Home Secretary, which set out plans for a new single, skills-based immigration system, marking the end of free movement.

The new immigration system will introduce a new route for skilled workers, which favours experience and talent over nationality.

Main points include removing the annual cap on the number of work visas issued, and widening the skills threshold to include people with qualifications equivalent of A levels.

Responding to the points of the White Paper, NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said:

“A recent report commissioned by the Cavendish Coalition revealed the NHS could be short of 51,000 nurses – enough to staff 45 hospitals – by the end of the Brexit transition period.

“The proposals in the Immigration White Paper do not provide a long-term solution to the needs of the NHS across nursing and other professions. They continue to confuse high pay with high skill and high value: the staff from the UK and around the world working in the NHS and social care do not command high pay but are hugely skilled and provide vital services to our families.

“We recognise that very welcome short-term action has been taken to support the NHS this year, and also appreciate the opportunity to engage further on the issues in the White Paper in the hope that the NHS, along with other sectors of the economy can see a more sophisticated system emerge as a result.”

Also, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, has responded to the proposal to scrap the Tier 2 visa cap for skilled workers in any migration system post-Brexit, saying:

“We are pleased to hear that, following repeated calls by RCGP and the BMA, the Government plans to scrap the Tier 2 visa cap for skilled workers in any migration system post-Brexit, including doctors wishing to move here to meet the significant gaps in our NHS workforce.

“The removal of the cap for doctors and nurses from non-EU countries earlier this year was vital and it is encouraging to see this will continue to be part of the Government’s plans post-Brexit.

“At a time when workload in general practice is escalating and our GP workforce is plummeting, despite a record number of GPs in training, we need to encourage as many highly-skilled, fully-qualified GPs to come to and then remain working in the UK as we possibly can.

“However, while this is positive news for appropriately-trained doctors and other 'skilled workers' from overseas, we are concerned that there could be a £30,000 salary cap, which would prevent other vital healthcare staff and support workers from being employed as practice nurses and other members of our wider practice teams."