UK govt. adds nurses to the shortage occupation list saving thousands of Indian nurses in NHS from deportation

Indian nurses in NHS not in danger of deportation as UK govt. eases tough migration restrictions

India News Bulletin Desk

In a move that will bring big relief to thousands of Asian nurses working in UK, the British government has announced temporarily eased the restrictions on nurse recruitment in the UK from outside European Economic Area.

Indian nurses saved from deportation under new tough immigration rules as UK govt. adds nurses to 'shortage occupation' list temporarily

The British government has added nurses to the "shortage occupation" list which means that nurses from outside the EEA that apply to work in the UK will have their applications for nursing posts prioritised. Approximately 3,365 nurses working in the NHS are from outside of Europe including many form India.

The easing of restrictions comes four months after the UK announced tough changes to Immigration laws – under which professionals from outside the Europe must be earning at least £35,000 pa to stay in the UK – automatically disqualifying thousands of Indian nurses and forcing many NHS nurses to face deportation.

According to UK policy makers, the easing of restrictions will reduce the pressure on the NHS at a time when the government is introducing tough new controls on costly agency spending. It will also help the NHS improve continuity of care for patients, invest in the frontline and maintain safe staffing levels.

However, it is important to note that the easing of restrictions is a temporary measure. The independent Migration Advisory Committee will review the change and present further evidence to the government by February 2016.

"Safe staffing across all our hospitals and care homes is a crucial priority. The temporary changes announced today will ensure the NHS has the nurses it needs to deliver the highest standards of care without having to rely on rip-off staffing agencies that cost the taxpayer billions of pounds a year," said UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

But the government is also recruiting more home-grown nurses than ever to deliver a "truly seven-day-NHS".

"There are already more than 8,000 additional nurses on our wards since 2010 and we are investing in our future workforce with a record 50,000 nurses currently in training," Hunt added.

The government is recruiting more home-grown nurses by increasing training places, promoting return to practice programmes and improving retention of existing staff.

Health Education England has already increased nurse training places by 14% over the last 2 years and is forecasting that more than 23,000 additional nurses will be in place by 2019, according to government stats. A campaign is also being run to get experienced nurses who’ve left the profession back to work to co-ordinate plans across the health and care sector to improve the retention of nurses.

In June this year when the tougher Immigration Laws were announced, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned that the new laws will result in immediate severe shortage of nurses in the UK, compromise patient safety and cost NHS millions. RCN estimated that the NHS would have spent more than £20 million in recruiting these foreign nurses and all that will have been wasted if these nurses are forced to leave the UK.

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