A new immigration policy in 2016 in which migrants from outside of Europe ‘have to earn £35,000’ to settle in the UK after staying on more than six years will affect many job industries relying on migrants, including nursing.
The pay threshold will apply to people wanting to remain permanently in the UK after working for more than six years.
It is thought the policy will end up costing the NHS millions and up to 3,365 nurses will be affected by the policy. Nurses rarely receive such salaries, even after working as a nurse in the NHS for more than six years. Additionally, given that under the policy nurses with rejected visas will have to return back to their home country, it could also mean that the NHS has wasted £20 million on staff who can no longer work for them. Cuts in nurse training places in which 37,000 potential nursing students were turned away last year has meant even more reliance on overseas recruitment to fill in skills gaps.
If no changes are made to policy, for example on training nurses, the number of nurses affected could increase to 6,620 by 2020 costing £39.7 million.
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive of the RCN said that ‘losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit to replace them is completely illogical.’
A Home Office has said that ‘there are exemptions to this threshold of occupations where the UK has a shortage, but the independent Migration Advisory Committee recommended against adding nurses to the Shortage Occupation List.’ The spokeswoman also said that it was possible they could still be added if evidence showed nurses were needed.