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Nurse immigration petition has passed 50,000 mark


An online petition set up by a nurse to put pressure on the Home Office to add nursing to its list of shortage occupations has been signed by over 50,000 people.

Being on the list would mean nursing was considered in short enough supply that posts could be “sensibly” filled by overseas recruits from outside Europe, making it easier for the NHS to find staff.  

“The UK will be sending away nurses who have contributed to the NHS for six years”

Jacqui Berry

As reported by Nursing Times, government advisors recommended against putting nursing on the list in February – advice believed to be contrary to the view of the Department of Health.

However, the lack of inclusion on the list has been given greater impetus by its connection to forthcoming immigration rules.

As it stands, new government legislation will force overseas workers from outside the EU to go back to their countries of origin if they are still earning less than £35,000 per year six years after arriving in the UK.

But the profession would be exempt from the legislation if nursing was added to the Home Office list of occupations in short supply.

The petition was created by a hospital nurse from Kent who previously made waves with a YouTube video, in which she accused health secretary Jeremy Hunt of a “wholesale attack on the NHS”.

Jacqui Berry, an intensive care nurse at Medway Foundation NHS Trust, posted the critique after completing a 14-and-a-half hour shift as part of a widespread backlash against new proposals for seven-day working.

She subsequently set up the petition on nurse shortages and immigration via the Care2 online campaigning network to support of colleagues from overseas.

It has so far gathered over 54,000 signatures. Ms Berry urged more people to sign it and said she planned to deliver the petition to the Home Office within the next few weeks.

She said: “The UK will be sending away nurses who have contributed to the NHS for six years. Losing their skills and knowledge and then having to start the cycle again and recruit to replace them is completely illogical.

“My migrant colleagues make an enormous contribution but now those we have relied on for years face having to leave, which is unfair,” she said. “The government can still avoid this chaos.”


Readers' comments (18)

  • It would broaden the recruitment-potential, which is no bad things. I'm afraid I find it controversial to target specific countries for their nurses, when their countries are less best placed to deal with the loss. If nurses came from Aus, canada, N.Z, or the US, it would be a more equal recruitment, and still provide cultural diversity to the workplace. Those of us who are opposed to the deliberate sourcing of workers from poor/less wealthy countries are also products of migration and immigration at some difficult stage in history. This needs to be remembered, and policy should be challenged. When the situation is unequal, it is connected to not separate from the people trade.

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  • Nurses will always come from poorer countries as pay and conditions are not good enough for other countries, it is only logical.
    Nursing needs to improve in all areas to keep hospitals away from recruiting from anywhere else but England.

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  • Australia imports RN's from overseas countries. So, to take nurses from us will deplete our workforce too. There is a need to open more places for both EN's and RN's at tertiary institutions in Australia. This would cost govts money! I told by people from overseas that many people want to come and live in Australia. We are a dry island.continent.

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  • I think Unison has a lot to answer for in this situation ?

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  • A large percentage of overseas nurses in the UK come from the Philippines and Southern India. Both of these countries / regions have too many nurses and for many the alternatives are to find non nursing employment such as working in a call centre or find work as a nurse overseas. It therefore makes sense to recruit from these countries.

    It is a transfer of nurses from Counties with too many nurses to a country such as the UK with insufficient nurses which makes sense all round.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Aug-2015 6:48 pm

    Lay off the amateur activism - they don't need your mis-informed condescension.

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  • emigration is the best policy. who wants to work in a third class health service when there are far better options on our doorstep.

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  • Nurses from poor countries are used as weapons to drive down pay and conditions for british nursing staff so from that perspective I am against the uncontrolled recruitment of foreign nurses though its interesting to note that at our hospital we cant even retain the foreign nurses as conditions aer so poor.

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  • I am sure someone will not agree. I think it is a sensible suggestion. After all the UK's recruitment of nurses must be putting some countries health services and hospitals under a lot of strain. These countries cannot compete with an NHS on a level field. Coming over here getting some much needed experience for a few years would be great for their health services. I feel these nurses should be encouraged to go home once their term is up and lend their experiences to their own countries. Its called give and take.

    I myself have been fortunate enough to work in other parts of world many considered to be third world. So I have seen the skill drain first hand in these countries.

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  • 2:28pm - good thing it's not up to you then, isn't it? If ever India, Philippines or wherever need your need your help I'm sure they'll ask. In the meantime, why not leave the decision to the nurses who decided to come here and who deserve the right to decide if and when they return to their own country? Plus you don't seem to have considered the chaos that will follow if they are forced to leave. Think you're short-staffed now? Just you wait!

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