The UK Home Secretary, Theresa May has asked the Migration Advisory Committee to add Nurses to the skilled occupation list, making it easier for foreign workers (from outside the UK and EEA) to be recruited to work in the United Kingdom.
UK’s NHS Employers has said 1,000 certificates of sponsorship, which allow nurses from outside Europe to work in the UK, will be needed in the next six months.
The Department of Health said the policy change was designed to ease pressure on the NHS at a time when the Government has introduced a cap on NHS trusts hiring expensive agency staff.
The interim measure to recognise nursing as a shortage occupation means:
- applications for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) will be prioritised by the UKVI points allocation system – increasing the likelihood of nursing applications being granted.
- employers can issue a certificate of sponsorship to an individual from outside of the EEA for a nursing role without the need to demonstrate that a resident labour market test (RLMT) has been carried out.
- the requirement to earn £35,000 or more to qualify for permanent settlement in the UK (indefinite leave to remain) will not apply to individuals for whom nursing has appeared on the shortage occupation list at any time during their employment in a nursing role. They will still need to meet all the other settlement criteria.
The temporary change will be subject to review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, which will present further evidence to the UK government by next February.