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NHS could be hit by India’s inclusion on red list, report warns

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·1-min read

The NHS and parts of industry could miss out on highly-skilled workers because of the inclusion of India on the Government’s “red list” for travel, a new report has suggested.

The move is a particular blow to UK financial and IT companies, city law firm Bates Wells said.

Even those exempted from the ban on travel from India to the UK, if they can show they are conducting essential work will still be forced to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, creating a “major disincentive” for staff to come and work in sectors including the NHS, said the report.

Chetal Patel, of Bates Wells, said: “These restrictions on Indian nationals means the UK is potentially missing out on highly-skilled workers who are effectively banned from coming into the country.

“We’ve had multi-national clients having to put a halt on the start dates for some Indian nationals as the Government’s addition of India to the red list came at too short notice.

“Keeping Covid under control in the UK has to come first. However, to help UK employers the Government needs to review the red list ban regularly and lift it as soon as it is safe to do so. The red list seems to be getting longer, not shorter.

“Even with exemptions, the requirement to quarantine in a hotel at a considerable cost could serve as a deterrent to medical professionals.

“Indian nationals are a vital part of the UK’s healthcare system, comprising 42% of of those applying for a health and care worker visa. To stem the flow of workers at a time when the NHS is severely understaffed is problematic to say the least.”