Boris Johnson Pledges New Post-Brexit Visas for Doctors and Nurses

(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for special visas to make it easier for the U.K.’s National Health Service to recruit doctors and nurses from other countries after Brexit.

The NHS visa would form part of a new points-based immigration system to be introduced after the U.K. completes its divorce from the European Union, Johnson’s Conservative Party said in an emailed statement on Friday.

Fees for the visa would be halved to 464 pounds ($595) from 928 pounds, medical professionals joining the NHS would receive extra points and applicants would be fast-tracked under the plans, the party said.

Health care is set to be a key battleground in the campaign for the Dec. 12 election. It’s traditionally been a weak issue for Johnson’s Conservatives, and the prime minister has sought to gain ground by pledging to plow cash into hospitals around the country, calling it a “people’s priority.”

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, has repeatedly accused Johnson of planning to “sell out” the NHS in a trade deal with U.S. President Donald Trump. As a result, medicine prices would surge, benefiting U.S pharmaceutical companies, Corbyn says.

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