Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Executive nurse group warns about immigration rules threat

  • 3 Comments

Senior nurses from the Royal College of Nursing are seeking to ratchet up pressure on the government regarding the threat to safe staffing posed by new immigration rules.

Under the new rules, nursing staff from outside the European Union who were granted “tier 2” visas after 6 April 2011 must leave the country if they fail to earn £35,000 or more after six years.

“Directors of nursing are concerned about the effect that changes to the immigration rules for overseas nurses will have on our ability to provide safe patient care”

Irene Gray

The college has previously estimated that more than 3,000 overseas nurses currently working in the UK, who cost around £20m to recruit, could be forced to leave from 2017.

The RCN’s Executive Nurse Network, which represents around 200 senior nurses, has now issued a warning in The Times about the impact changes to the immigration rules will have on patient care.

In a letter to the newspaper today, network chair Irene Gray said: “Directors of nursing across the UK are concerned about the effect that changes to the immigration rules for overseas nurses will have on our ability to provide safe patient care.

“[The changes] will leave an already overstretched service, which has to date had to turn to overseas nurses to plug gaps caused by cuts to nurse training places and poor workforce planning, at even greater risk of a staffing shortfall,” she said.

She added: “Without a change to these immigration rules, the NHS, care homes and Independent health care providers will continue to pay millions of pounds to temporarily hire nurses from overseas which is in no one’s interests.”

Royal College of Nursing

Irene Gray

The college highlighted the issue on the eve of its annual congress in June and both former RCN chief executive Peter Carter and NHS managers have recently written to ministers about their concerns.

Meanwhile, an online petition set up by a nurse to put pressure on the Home Office has been signed by over 50,000 people.

But last weekend David Cameron said the NHS needed to get better at workforce planning and encouraging young people to study nursing, in response to questions on the new immigration rules.

The prime minister was asked directly about the issue affecting nurses from non-European countries in a radio interview with the BBC.

  • 3 Comments

Readers' comments (3)

  • How many more expert opinions is it going to take to get some action on this? Cameron's only response so far was a typical political "brush-off" and singularly unhelpful.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "David Cameron said the NHS needed to get better at workforce planning and encouraging young people to study nursing"

    Right, so we should just try and spin some glitz and glamour on modern-day nursing and wait three years before we get a new cohort of nurses. All while at least 3,000 overseas nurses get sent back home. Brilliant plan, Dave.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Laha78

    How about then Mr Cameron, you start by giving all nurses the pay increase they deserve and back date it and leave alone messing with our unsociable hourly pay as well!!!! I despise this government and all their idiotic idealisms!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs