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Petition to stop immigration law for nurses hits more than 54,000 signatures

The online petition, Save 30,000 NHS nurses from deportation - to save our health service, which was set up by an NHS nurse, has garnered 54,612 signatures.

Under the new rules, people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) must earn £35,000 or more within six years, or they will not be allowed to stay in the UK.

The effects of the new rules will start being felt in 2017, however the petition on the Care2 website, set up by nurse Jac Berry aims to stop this.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said that the “changes to immigration rules will risk intensifying the severe shortage of nurses in the UK, compromising patient safety, as well as costing the health service millions,” after a report they published in June investigating the effect of immigration.

The report, International Recruitment 2015, suggests that if the rate of international recruitment stays the same as it is now, by 2020 the number of nurses affected by the threshold will be 6,620, employed at a cost of £39.7 million.

If workforce pressures force a higher rate of international recruitment, the number of nurses affected could be 29,755, costing more than £178.5million to recruit.

Responding to the report in June, RCN chief executive at the time Peter Carter said: “The RCN submitted detailed, extensive and unambiguous evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee. Unfortunately, this advice was not heeded, despite the clear evidence of a serious shortage of staff in the nursing profession, and the impact this is having on patients. The RCN is now repeating its call to add nursing to the shortage occupation list.”