New immigration rules could significantly damage the NHS

TIER 2, nurse, visa, rules 21 June 2015
New immigration rules that will come into effect next year could have a very negative impact on the NHS, causing the loss of thousands of qualified nurses.
Under the new rules, non-EU workers who are earning under £35,000 after living for six years in the UK will be deported. Up to 3,365 nurses are likely to be affected by this policy when it comes into force, rising to 6,620 by 2020.
The Royal College of Nurses said this change “will cause chaos for the NHS and other care services”, arguing that nurses should be added to the list of shortage occupations (exempt from the rules) and that the salary threshold should be revised.
Moreover, the NHS has spent more than £20 million on recruiting qualified nurses from overseas, and the new rules would mean that a large proportion of this money has been wasted.
Dr Peter Carter, the Royal College of Nurses’ chief executive, said: “The UK will be sending away nurses who have contributed to the health service for six years. Losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit to replace them is completely illogical.”
A Home Office spokesman commented: “As the prime minister has made clear, the government wants to reduce the demand for migrant labour.
“There are exemptions to this threshold for occupations where the UK has a shortage - but the independent Migration Advisory Committee recommended against adding nurses to the shortage occupation list after taking evidence from groups, including the [Royal College of Nurses].
Employers have had since 2011 to prepare for the possibility their non-EEA workers may not meet the required salary threshold to remain in the UK permanently.”
Despite the clear issues with these new rules in the context of the UK’s healthcare system (including the significant shortage in qualified nurses in the UK and indeed worldwide), they are still due to come into force April next year.

Tags: TIER 2 , nurse , visa , rules

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