The RCN has called for overseas nurses to be exempt from paying for the NHS following the chancellor’s hike to the immigration health surcharge.
Rishi Sunak told Parliament about his plans to raise the fees paid by migrants to use the NHS from £400 to £624 in the Budget yesterday.
But the RCN said nurse should not have to pay this as they already contribute to the NHS through their work, income tax and National Insurance.
Dame Donna Kinnair said: ‘Nurses from overseas already pay for the NHS through their taxes and there can be no justification to increase this cruel tax to more than £600.
‘Nurses don’t just have to pay for themselves, but for any dependent children they have as well.
‘At a time when there are more than 40,000 nursing vacancies, and difficulties in recruitment, the Government must exempt nurses from this heartless charge.’
The Treasury estimates the levy, which is paid on visa applications, will raise over £300m a year from 2021.
A single person will now pay £624, while a child will pay £470. The fee has also been extended to EU nationals for the first time.
Previously, the charge was £400 for adults and £300 for children while EU migrants went free.