Following much criticism of the removal of nurses from the 2015 Shortage Occupation List, and numerous calls for a review of the decision from the Royal College of Nursing, the NHS and the Care Quality Commission, the UKVI have announced in a statement published on the 15th October 2015, that “Nurses will be added to the government”s shortage occupation list on an interim basis“. The temporary changes will be made to ease restrictions on nurses recruited from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).
NHS Nurses applying to come to work in the UK from outside of the EEA will have their applications prioritised, on the basis that they are a Shortage Occupation role. These applications will still require sponsorship from a UK based employer. For applicants based outside of the UK, sponsors will need to apply to the UKVI panel for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocation. Positions on the Shortage Occupation List score very high in the point scoring process which means, in most cases, the allocation requests are likely to be granted.
The changes also mean that overseas nurses earning below £35,000 a year and have been resident in the UK for 5 years as a Tier 2 General sponsored worker may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK.
The new changes will be subject to further review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, who will present further evidence to the government by February 2016.
Please contact us if you have information which you would like contribute towards the call for evidence in February 2016.
For information or advice on how the changes affect you or your workers, please do not hesitate to contact us.