NHS Raises Concern for Nurses under Tier 2
There are concerns raised by NHS chiefs over changes to the UK Tier 2 immigration rules have been put forward in a letter sent to the Home Office. The Nursing Times states that many Tier 2 applications of nurses recruited from outside the European Union are being refused by the Home Office.
Additionally, some non-EU NHS nurses are known to be resigning as a consequence of new immigration rules, which would see them having to leave the country, if their yearly salary is less than £35,000 and they've been in Britain for six years.
Obtaining Tier 2 visas is getting increasingly difficult. It can be difficult to keep your Tier 2 sponsorship licence which the Home Office can revoke anytime. There have even been reports of the Home Office producing falsified documentation to support revocation of sponsorship licences held by employers. In addition, somewhat bizarrely, the OISC (Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner) appears to have become involved in the Governments attempts to reduce net immigration to the UK, which now even worsens the situation.
Nurses’ exclusion from the Shortage Occupation List leaves non-EU nurses coming under the general pool of Tier 2 visa applicants restricted to a total of 20,700 visas annually.
A clinical director at an NHS hospital in London revealed that nurses were already quitting their jobs and taking up employment opportunities in the private sector for increased salaries with hope that this will enable them to remain in the UK.
Clinical Directors statement highlights: "It's a massive blow to us. London relies on nurses with Tier 2 work permits to keep NHS operations running. It's really difficult to recruit nurses in the current climate because of high living costs in London. Our hospital has already lost two nurses in quick succession to the private sector as they seek to avoid the £35,000 salary threshold."
He also went onto say: "It will be disastrous if the government allows these rules to go through. Even rumours of the threshold will lead to nurses leaving the NHS out of fear."
NHS recruiters and individual NHS Trusts have warned the Department of Health and the Home Office that unless the immigration rules and the Tier 2 visa Shortage Occupation List are changed, the NHS will struggle to recruit nurses for vacant posts and face problems with nurses leaving employment to join private sector.