The recruitment of physiotherapists from overseas could be hampered by proposed new immigration rules, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).
Under the proposals, there will be a restriction on Visas for anyone earning under £30,000 a year, a salary level that could leave physiotherapists and other health professionals from abroad unable to come to work in Britain.
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists has joined other medical bodies in calling for a rethink of the plans. As part of medical professions umbrella body the Cavendish Coalition, it is arguing for the threshold to be lowered. The coalition said it was "extremely concerned" about the impact the salary threshold would have on the supply of skilled medical staff from overseas.
While acknowledging that some special dispensation will be given to doctors and nurses, others such as physios and paramedics are being ignored when the threshold is considered.
Speaking to Frontline magazine, CSP director of policy Rob Yeldham said: "Some 14 per cent of registered physios are from outside the UK, and half of them are from Europe." He added that the CSP backs the Cavendish Coalition's campaign.
Mr Yeldham continued: "But we want to see the UK Government change the whole visa system. Physios and physio support workers should not be judged on economic criteria.
"Their value is in the improvements they make to the health and wellbeing of their patients. That is what the immigration system needs to recognise."
Hailed as the largest change to the UK's immigration system for a generation by home secretary Sajid Javid, the white paper proposes ending the cap on the number of visa issued and widens the skill threshold to include qualifications equivalent to A levels.
However, it may be that the attempt by the government to focus on attracting the best and the brightest from overseas may be adjusted somewhat by the time the final legislation is passed, should the campaign for more leeway for certain medical professions be successful.
Written by Matthew Horton
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