Healthcare professionals including senior nurses in particular specialisms are on a list of occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in Britain.
The list, published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), will be used as part of a new points-based system which will determine whether workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can enter the UK.
As well as having a certificate of sponsorship from a sponsored employer and satisfying English language and maintenance requirements, migrants would have to satisfy points criteria based on their expected contribution to the UK economy.
The committee was set up to establish which sectors of the UK job market are short of workers and its proposals will now be considered by immigration minister Liam Byrne.
As well as senior nurses, the "wish list" of skilled workers needed includes senior care workers, civil and chemical engineers, secondary school maths and science teachers, chefs, ship and hovercraft officers and veterinary surgeons.
MAC Chair Professor David Metcalf said: "This report is a landmark in the provision of evidence-based advice to the government. It breaks new ground in combining detailed data analysis with evidence from employers within a consistent and robust economic framework."