Brexit: Why There’s No Need to Panic if You’re Planning on Coming to the UK to Work

The date of the British referendum that will decide whether the UK stays within the EU or leaves, is drawing ever closer. Brexit, as it has been dubbed by popular media, continues to worry and confuse professionals wanting to head to the UK for work, which is why we’re here to explain things simply for you.

At Hylton-Potts, we completely understand how difficult it can be to get to grips with the ins and outs of EC Rights within the ever-changing context of the current Brexit situation. However, in today’s blog post, we’d like to explain to you exactly why there’s no need to panic, and why, if you’ve been thinking about a move to Britain, there’s no better time like the present.

Why are people concerned?

It can be very easy to get caught up in all the media reports and speculation about what a break away from the EU would mean. It’s very likely that many health care professionals and other medically trained workers from across the EU and EEA, will be watching on in wonder. Would a move to the UK to seek employment be the right thing to do?

There are two main misconceptions surrounding an exit from the EU however, which are causing concern. First of all, it is believed that a drastic change to immigration policy would occur if the UK were to exit, and secondly, it is believed that those already in the UK would have to leave.

Both of these claims however are without foundation. Firstly, the EU does not control the immigration policies of the UK so strictly, so it is highly unlikely that they would suddenly become very harsh. The migration of people between the EU and the UK may become slightly more difficult, but this would be dependent on the agreement reached between the EU and the UK, and this could take months, even years, to reach. In that time, policies would remain unchanged.

Secondly, due to the Vienna Convention of 1969, those of EU nationality who are currently in the UK would be allowed to continue to live in Britain and work, so if you’re planning a move then there’s no better time. Of course, all of these concerns relate to leaving the EU, but the likelihood of this scenario is very slim.

Not so long ago, the people of Scotland headed to the polls to vote about an exit from the rest of the United Kingdom. Although it was close, those in favour of independence still couldn’t convince the wider public that this was a wise move. Even if in the Brexit case, the UK did vote to leave the EU, it certainly would not happen overnight, taking years to negotiate such a break.

Does the NHS need the EU?

Along with speculation about what a split would mean for people from the EU currently living in the UK, there have also been discussions around what it would mean for UK services – more specifically, for the NHS. According to the latest figures, there are around three million people of EU nationality living and working in the UK, who all have access to NHS treatment. According to the NHS statistics, NHS England alone recruits just over 53,000 EU medical professionals per year – 4.6% of the total NHS workforce on a part-time and full-time basis. When we look at the figures for doctors working in NHS England, we see that a total of 9% came from the EU, while the number of EU nurses and health visitors accounted for 6% of the total.

It is unlikely in the event of Britain leaving the EU that this would create a large demand for medical professionals, as the Vienna Convention dictates that such individuals are allowed to stay and continue working within the UK. However, in future years, this could have a hugely detrimental effect on the NHS, as that extra percentage of staff would need to be accounted for elsewhere, leading to an even greater shortage of staff. Plus, some doctors, nurses and the like may choose to move back to their home countries, which would mean such a shortage would become a problem far sooner.

What does this mean for me?

Regardless of the political stance of the country, the fact remains that Britain is highly reliant on EU healthcare and medical professionals to fill the current void in the NHS. There has never been a greater need for these professional and well-trained individuals, and even if Brexit does occur, it is very unlikely given these figures that those who are already resident within the UK would be asked to leave.

In fact, it may even be the case that in the event of a break away from the EU, the UK Government would negotiate to allow the free movement of healthcare professionals to and from the UK. This would help to encourage medical professionals to join our workforce, helping to alleviate our need for skilled healthcare workers.

With all of this in mind, we can safely say that there is no need to panic if you have plans to move to the UK and join the NHS. Not only is such a skillset needed, but a lot of the hype created around Brexit is speculation. The facts are that immigration policy is unlikely to change, those who already work in the UK will be allowed to stay, and even if the UK were to leave, negotiations would be a lengthy process.

At Hylton-Potts, we have experts in EC Rights and the NHS Qualification process always on hand to alleviate your concerns. If you’re a medical professional thinking about coming to the UK to work for the NHS, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can call us on 020 7381 8111, or contact us via email at [email protected].

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