Government’s immigration department should consider excluding nurses from the salary cap for deportation, MPs said in a new report.
Under the new rules, workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are earning less than £35,000 after six years in the UK will be deported.
However, nursing was temporarily added to the shortage occupation list in October, stalling the deportation process until 15 February. By that date the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) must determine if nursing should be more permanently included on the list. The report released today by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (HAC) – which is made up of MPs – will help guide their decision.
The report concluded that the government should consider “exempting certain public sector roles from the cap” for general working visas, it also recognised the nursing shortage and the fact that this is not a short-term problem.
A “considerable proportion” of the evidence the HAC received on the immigration rules related to healthcare professionals, suggesting strong public views on the topic, and “many commented on the difficulty filling nursing vacancies and the need to be able to recruit from outside the EU,” the report revealed.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said that “the health service must now have a long-term workforce strategy to ensure the UK has enough nurses to cope with rising demand now and in the future. Anything less would be failing patients.”