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UK Relaxes Nursing Immigration Rules

The government changes its immigration rules on nurse recruitment. It will allow 1000's of Indian nurses onto the 'shortage occupation list'.

NURSE RECRUITMENT: The news comes as a huge relief to many nurses working in Britain.

The relaxation in immigration rules is especially welcome for thousands of nurses from India.

Relaxing the immigration rules is a welcome change in policy for up to 30,000 overseas nursing professionals. They feared getting thrown out of the United Kingdom.

The NHS is the National Health Service in Britain. They announced that new rules were set to come into force.

But, they would only allow overseas nurses a stay in the country providing they earn a minimum of £35,000 a year. A working salary for medical staff of that scale is for a senior nurse in the United Kingdom.

Nurses Facing Deportation

Under this proviso, the majority of nurses would not reach this income threshold for the next six years. The result would have meant many nursing professional having to leave Britain.

A dramatic U-turn by the government has introduced temporary changes to the imminent restrictions on nurse recruitment. This only applies to those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

The aim is to ensure safe staffing levels across the National Health Service in the UK. They will start processing applications from non-EU trained nurses within 70 days of their application.

Shortage Occupation List

The government said nurses will get added to the revised ‘shortage occupation list’ of skilled workers on an interim basis. That means their applications for nursing posts will get prioritized.

Even so, the job must meet the requirements of the shortage occupation list. Thus, it should have a minimum salary taken from the Codes of Practice. The job must also be for at least 30 hours a week if you are sponsoring a migrant worker in a shortage occupation.

Response from India

The Union health ministry in Delhi are trying to attract returning nurses with jobs across India. They were hoping to benefit from UK immigration and visa policies. The ministry contemplated recruiting nurses on a contractual basis under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).

The attraction would be a much higher salary than their counterparts were receiving in government hospitals. A shortage of some 2.4 million nurses in India caused the thrust of this response.

What if the new immigration policy had gone ahead and capped the number of migrants living and working in Britain? It would have led to 7,000 overseas nurses getting sent from the United Kingdom back to India by the year 2020.

Another reason to worry is the major recruiting drive around the world. Workers in Indian hospitals, where nursing standards are very high, could still aim to get a job overseas and particularly inside the UK.

Response from United Kingdom

As a rule, the health secretary stated they are also beginning a campaign to get experienced nurses working back in the profession. They are targeting those who have left the profession most. Safe staffing across all our hospitals and care homes is top priority for the government.

It will provide the NHS with the nurses it needs to deliver the highest standards of care. This will also avoid having to rely on rip-off staffing agencies. They cost the taxpayer billions of pounds a year.

Health Education England base themselves in West Yorkshire. They aim to deliver a better health and healthcare workforce. HEE are responsible for the education, training, and personal development in the industry. They have already increased nurse training places by 14% over the last two years. The organization forecasts 23,000 extra nurses will also be in place by 2019.


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