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UK Immigration Rules Preventing NHS Employing Foreign Nurses and Compromising Health Care

Patient heath care is being, and will continue to be, comprised as a direct result of the tough immigration rules in the United Kingdom, NHS chiefs have warned.

Ahead of Winter – a crucial time for health care – NHS bosses claim that without recruiting circa one thousand foreign nurses to combat staff shortages before the end of the year, will seriously impact upon the care UK patients receive with surgical procedures being cancelled and treatments being delayed.

NHS Employers claim that current immigration rules are resulting in too many applications for certificates of sponsorship for nurses outside the EU being refused.

In a bid to address to growing issue, the heads of ten of the top NHS trusts have signed and sent a letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May calling upon her to loosen the immigration rules to allow foreign nurses to work in the UK.

NHS bosses have previously contacted the government with regards to the staff shortage problem. A mere two months ago NHS chiefs wrote to the UK’s Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, and to date have not received a response.

It is not new for the UK’s immigration rules to come under fire. Back in June 2015, Peter Carter, who is the former Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive predicted that health forcing non-European Economic Area residents earning less than £35,000 per annum to leave the UK after six years, would make the nurse shortage problem worse.

Commenting, Danny Mortimer who is the Chief Executive of NHS Employers, stated:

‘These are nurses who’ve been recruited and could start work in the NHS shortly – but we can’t get them into the country.

‘They are trained, registered nurses recruited from outside the EU – most typically from India and the Philippines.

‘Their absence will be keenly felt. Non-EU nurses are invaluable to the NHS.

‘We are asking Theresa May to relieve the pressure on already stretched services as we head into the winter months.’

Mr Mortimer added:

‘If Trusts are unable to employ these nurses it will impact on their ability to meet safe staffing levels and support the effective provision of services particularly in the winter months,’ Mr Mortimer said.

‘Whilst we are experiencing a mismatch between supply and demand we are asking that this is recognised and that nursing be placed on the shortage occupation list for the next two years.’

Also commenting on the sensitive issue, a Home Office spokesperson, stated:

‘NHS trusts have been given more than 1,400 tier 2 certificates of sponsorship for nurses since April this year, but over 600 of the places allocated to them in April and May this year have been returned unused.

‘The independent Migration Advisory Committee, which took evidence from a number of NHS trusts and representative bodies from across the UK, recommended against adding nurses to the Shortage Occupation List earlier this year.

‘We will continue to monitor tier 2 take-up, but have no plans to change the level of the annual limit of 20,700 places.’

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