Britain's Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has launched a campaign to urge the UK government to drop a health surcharge for overseas nurses, including from India, employed by the country's state-funded National Health Service (NHS).
Nurses from countries outside the European Union (EU) are expected to pay 200 pounds (USD 271) overseas health surcharge, which is paid per family member for every year once the nurse enters the country on a work permit.
The RCN has observed that the charge is "too steep" for a nurse's average annual salary of around 27,800 pounds and results in tearing families apart in some cases as many are unable to bring them into the UK due to the high costs involved.
"But the government now seems hell-bent on showing that they're no longer welcome," she said, adding that it was "shameful that families are being torn apart by this policy".
Under the system introduced in 2015, non-European Economic Area (EEA) citizens in the UK must pay 200 pounds per family member for every year on the main sponsors' work permit.
The surcharge is due to increase to 400 pounds later this year and there have been suggestions that after Brexit it will be applied to EU nationals too.
Some overseas nurses have reportedly received requests for more than 3,000 pounds upfront to cover their families' potential use of the NHS, the RCN warns.
The UK Home Office said the surcharge had an important role to play, generating income that goes directly to the NHS.
"The government fully recognises the contribution that international professionals make to the UK and to our health service," a spokesperson said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)