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Calls to Add Nurses to the Shortage Occupation List

Many nurses will be forced to leave their jobs with the NHS and return to their home countries because of changes to immigration rules, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned.

The new rules say that people who have moved to the UK from out with the European Economic Area have to leave after six years unless they are earning at least £35,000. According to the RCN, as many as 3,365 nurses who currently work in the UK will potentially have to leave the country as a result, which will be very costly for the NHS and could impact on patient care and safety.

The RCN is calling on the Government to act now to provide more training places for UK nurses. It is also urging the Government to reconsider the £35,000 salary threshold and add nursing to the list of shortage occupations.

“The UK has always benefited from attracting some of the world’s most talented and caring nurses, and overseas nurses will continue to play a vital role in our health services,” explained Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN. “But an over reliance on their recruitment is not in anyone’s best long term interests.”

“The RCN submitted detailed, extensive and unambiguous evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee,” he added. “Unfortunately, this advice was not heeded, despite the clear evidence of a serious shortage of staff in the nursing profession, and the impact this is having on patients. The RCN is now repeating its call to add nursing to the shortage occupation list.”

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