After Britain leaves the European Union, freedom of movement will come to an end. We will take full control of migration by bringing all of it under UK law and institute a new border and immigration system. Comprising nearly 6% of NHS staff, the contribution made by EU nationals to the NHS is invaluable and that is why after Brexit, I support the proposals that mean any EU nationals living in Britain prior to the 29th of March 2019 will be allowed to remain.
It is essential going forward that we have a strategy for immigration that suits the UK's needs and ensures we continue to have an open, dynamic economy and a world-class health service staffed by dedicated professionals. For that reason, I welcome that the Government is looking to implement a skills-based policy that will apply to both EU and non-EU migrants equally.
The government is consulting with the Migration Advisory Committee, which has been asked by the Home Secretary to review the Shortage Occupation List, so that we can fill gaps in our labour market, including the NHS.
However, it is important that we do not become reliant on migration to support the NHS. I believe we must do everything we can support our home-grown talent to provide the NHS with the staff it needs. That is why the government is right to have increased the number of medical school places by 1500 per year, requiring those trained to commit to a 4-year service period for the NHS.
I am proud that the introduction of student loans for our postgraduate nurses and the increase in the nursing apprenticeships to 7500 has allowed for the removal of the artificial caps on numbers of nurses that are trained. Numbers of nurses in training at hitting record highs in recent years and over 13,000 more nurses on wards than in 2010.
In order to secure the future of the NHS post-Brexit, employee retention is critical. I am very happy to say that a new deal will see a 6.5 per cent pay rise for over one million NHS workers over three years. This will benefit not just nurses, but all staff on the Agenda for Change pay scale.