A Manchester trust’s plans to draft in 275 nurses from India have been thrown into doubt due to difficulties securing visas.
Central Manchester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had planned to have the nurses in post in July.
However, it encountered “difficulties in the pre-employment and migration processes required to bring the nurses into the UK”.
It secured “certificates of sponsorship” earlier in the year, effectively giving permission to carry out the recruitment in India.
But these expired before pre-employment and migration checks could be carried out, according to Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
It has since received 54 new certificates, and said it hoped the nurses could arrive by January. It is still trying to obtain certificates for the rest of the cohort.
The trust said it has raised concerns with the government and regulatory bodies, and had factored the recruitment delays into its winter plans.
It comes amid warnings that new migration controls are putting patients at risk, by leaving trusts with staff shortages going into winter. NHS Employers has criticised the Home Office for not placing nursing on the “shortage occupation” list.
Last week NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens also warned that the situation was hampering efforts to expand the nursing workforce.
- Nurse immigration policy needs ‘rethink’, says NHS boss
- Managers lobby Home Office over nurse immigration rules
- Trust chiefs warn visa rules causing nurse recruitment problems
In response, a Home Office spokeswoman said: “In the past it has been too easy for some employers to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the long term decision to train our workforce here at home.”
She added that its independent migration advisory committee had taken evidence from a “number of NHS trusts and representative bodies” before recommending against adding nurses to the shortage occupation list.