Specialist property adviser Christie + Co has welcomed news today that the government is to relax immigration controls on nurses working in the UK following an intervention from the home secretary, Theresa May.
In an effort to tackle the shortage of nurses in social care and the NHS, nurses are to be temporarily placed on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List.
In June, Christie + Co released a report ‘The UK Nursing Workforce: Crisis or Opportunity’ looking at the staffing crisis in British care homes and hospitals. The report acknowledges the UK’s long-standing reliance on overseas health workers and appeals for immigration to be encouraged in order to reduce the shortage.
Michael Hodges, Director of Healthcare Consultancy at Christie + Co comments: “This intervention by the home secretary is absolutely necessary in ensuring hospital and care homes across the UK deliver safe services this winter.”
The change will be subject to a review by the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which will present further evidence to the government by next February.
Michael adds: “We hope that the government maintains its commitment to this issue by retaining nurses on the Shortage Occupation List. Given how severe the shortage is, every measure needs to be taken to retain nurses and entice people to enter the health care industry.”
The temporary changes announced today mean that nurses from non EU countries will have their applications prioritised and no longer run the risk of having their visas rejected.
Those from non EU countries earning less than £35,000 a year who have been in the UK for six years will not have to leave the country from April 2016.
Michael concludes: “Operators will be relieved to hear that the staff they have trained up over the past few years will not be forced to leave the country – an essential progress in policy.”