LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's new immigration system will provide faster and cheaper visas for skilled health and social care workers, the government announced on Monday, setting out further details of the points-based system that will come into effect in January.
A new post-Brexit immigration system will apply to skilled workers and ends free movement of labour between Britain and the European Union (EU) following Britain's departure from the bloc earlier this year.
The state-funded National Health Service (NHS), which employs more than 1.2 million people and is Britain's front line in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, relies on labour from both the EU and other countries around the world.
On Monday, the government outlined a new "Health and Care Visa" which will lower fees, cut application times and provide greater support for eligible applicants who will work in the NHS, social care or supporting companies.
In most cases the new immigration system requires any worker from overseas to have a job offer, sufficiently high qualifications and spoken English.
The government also announced that international students completing undergraduate or masters degrees will be able to stay in Britain for two years.
Those completing a PhD will be able to stay for three years.
There is no planned formal route for lower-skilled workers to enter Britain, although seasonal and sector-specific schemes may be created.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)