Nursing to be included on the shortage occupation list

Baby, mother and nurses

15 / 10 / 2015 1.40pm

Dear Colleagues 

Many of you will be aware of the work that NHS Employers has been leading around migration over the recent months – representing your views with national bodies, politicians and the media and seeking to co-ordinate activity across both health and care. 

I am delighted to be able to confirm that the government has today agreed to the interim inclusion of nursing on the shortage occupation list with immediate effect. 

The interim period is to allow the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to undertake a review of nurse supply and demand, to determine whether it should be included on the list beyond this interim period. The MAC has been asked to report to the Home Office in February 2016. 

In last week’s NHS Workforce Bulletin we included a message to employers about only applying for restricted certificates of sponsorship at the time they are needed. Today, we have received clarification that all employers are required to ensure the following, before a certificate of sponsorship is applied for: 

  • The individual nurse needs to have passed part 1 of the NMC test of competence (the CBT).
  • An offer of employment has been issued to the individual. 

We also need to be aware that there is still an overall restricted cap on the number of certificates for the year. The inclusion of nursing on the shortage occupation list is likely to have consequences for other applications, both within the health sector and beyond.

It is therefore critical that we work with all of these requirements: not doing so will risk the continued inclusion of nursing on the shortage occupation list.

I am sure, like me, you will be pleased to hear this progress. The work does not stop here and we need to take this opportunity to present a robust and evidence based-submission to the MAC on nurse shortages. We will liaise with the MAC to understand the scope of its review and work with you to ensure that this is achieved.

We will continue to work closely with colleagues in national organisations in social care and the independent health sector, to ensure that a full picture is presented to the MAC. We will also keep liaising with the NMC on your behalf to ensure that the registration process is as efficient as it can be, while maintaining safety standards.   

I will make sure further details are included in our workforce bulletin. Our international recruitment web pages contain the most up to date rules and requirements which I hope your teams find useful.

Thank you for your continued support for this area of our work. You will, I'm sure, also join me in thanking those trusts and FTs who signed our letter to the Home Secretary and who helped print and broadcast media explain our pressing need to recruit nurses from outside of the EU.


Kind regards

Daniel Mortimer

Chief Executive
NHS Employers

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