Ireland is set to become the most cost effective source country in the world for NHS and UK private hospitals recruiting Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals because of the Common Travel Area.
With the British government announcing details of its new Australian points based immigration system from 1 January next year, Irish citizens are set to enjoy the same relationship that exists between both Australia and New Zealand when it comes to the free movement and work rights of its citizens.
Australia is regarded as having one of the most advanced immigration systems in the world with other developed countries around the world such as Canada basing their current immigration system on the Australian model.
The proposed UK immigration system will require all skilled migrants to have an approved job offer at a required skill level and be able to speak English before being able to work from 1 January 2021.
But what about Irish citizens?
The Common Travel Area pre-dates Irish and UK membership of the EU and is not dependent on it. First established in 1923, the Common Travel Area allows Irish and British citizens to move freely and reside in either jurisdiction. Citizens from both countries also enjoy associated rights and entitlements, including access to employment, healthcare, education, social benefits and even the right to vote in certain elections.
When both countries joined the EU, the Common Travel Area was largely forgotten about until Brexit.
The reason why Ireland is set to become so attractive to NHS employers and private hospitals in the UK is that with an estimated 44,000 nursing vacancies, 12,000 medical vacancies and over 10,000 allied health vacancies, international recruitment is seen as the solution and where better to recruit than in Ireland with no restrictions on Irish citizens living and working in the UK.
International medical and nursing recruitment is very expensive with the typical cost of recruiting one Nurse from the Philippines estimated to be £12,207 according to NHS Employers recruitment toolkit.
Home Office (UKVI) immigration fees currently make up a substantial portion of this £12,207 including immigration skills charge £3,000, Certificate of Sponsorship £199, Tier 2 Visa (three years) £610 and the immigration surcharge of £1,200 (£400 per year for three years).
Therefore, with a total of £5,009 going on immigration costs, it’s not difficult to see why Ireland is set to become an even more attractive source country for UK healthcare employers, while Ireland’s public health recruitment freeze is also likely to benefit the UK in short term.
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