Posted on October 16, 2015

Change to overseas nursing recruitment

The government has officially declared that nursing is a shortage occupation, which means more nurses can be recruited from outside the EU. Some members of the NHS in England and Wales have been campaigning for this change to make it easier to recruit staff, as immigration regulations were proving restrictive; however, the government has categorised this as a temporary move. An independent migration advisory committee is being consulted about how long this measure should be in place for. Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, said that safe staffing levels are a crucial priority. The temporary change will enable this to be achieved and there will be less reliance on nursing agencies. The measure has been put in place in time for winter to enable additional recruitment to be completed before the expected extra seasonal demand. The leaders of 10 trusts had written to the home secretary to explain the recruitment problem. They raised concerns about operation cancellations and stated that around 1,000 certificates of sponsorship will be required to aid recruitment over the next six months to ensure that hospitals have the right number of nursing staff in place. The NHS believes that the government has already rejected many applications from nurses outside the EU and that action is needed sooner rather than later to help the recruitment situation. Despite additional places being made available for UK student nurses, those in training now will not be ready to begin work until at least 2017.
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