Overseas recruitment - NMC and immigration rules


20 / 3 / 2015 5.11pm

Dear Colleague

When attending your HR networks over the last few months, many of you have raised the challenges around workforce supply and the process challenges involved in recruiting staff from overseas. I therefore wanted to update you on what we have been doing to represent your views.

Overseas recruitment – NMC and immigration rules
You told us that there were problems with recruiting individuals from outside of the EU because of the new Nursing and Midwifery Council’s (NMC) registration standards.
We have worked with both the NMC and the Department of Health to explore some of the blockages and pinch points. The NMC has reviewed the on-line test the individual takes in their home country, and made some adjustments. It has also increased its communications activities around the new process and the need for preparation. Since the test was launched last October, the NMC has seen pass rates rise significantly from a very low percentage in the first two months to around 80 per cent. There will be continued monitoring of this to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

You may also have heard that that the new immigration rules were published yesterday, 19 March, and are effective immediately. After significant discussions with the Home Office, these now include the ability for you to employ an overseas qualified nurse, who has passed the first part of the NMC process, as an healthcare assistant (HCA) for up to three months while they prepare to sit the observed structured clinical examination(OSCE) – the second part of the process.

If the person passes, they will receive NMC registration with immediate effect and you will be able to employ them as a registered nurse. If the individual fails, they have the ability to remain in the UK and apply to re-sit the OSCE. They can continue in the HCA role for this period and work on the areas of development identified. If they fail the re-sit, they will need to leave the UK with immediate effect as they no longer have the right to work. The re-sit needs to take place less than eight months from the date the individual entered the UK. More detailed information will be available for your HR and recruitment colleagues from our website next week.

As yet, no-one has applied to sit the OSCE, so we do not have any intelligence to share, however we will be looking at this with the NMC over the coming months as we expect to see individuals going through the centre.

I know there are similar issues with paramedic supply and demand and some of you are looking at overseas recruitment for this group of staff. We are engaging with the Health and Care Professions Council and will be developing guidance for you on the requirements and options available for recruiting paramedics from within and outside of the EU. This will include how the youth mobility scheme within tier 5 might be a helpful immigration route for you to consider for this profession.

Shortage occupation list
We are all disappointed that nursing has not been included in the Migration Advisory Committee recommendations list published recently. I have heard quite a lot of comments from nurse directors who think that this means that you cannot recruit from overseas. You may wish to share with your colleagues that the list is helpful in showing that the resident labour market test does not have to be evidenced, but you can still start or continue with any activity you have planned. We are expecting the Government’s response to the recommendations in the next few days and will provide an update through our workforce bulletin when announced.

National nurse supply and demand board
This is the board being co-chaired by Jane Cummings from NHS England and Lisa Bayliss-Pratt from Health Education England. At the next meeting on 1st April, we will be discussing w some options around recruitment, international recruitment and retention which we will want to take forward with you. You’ve been sharing thoughts with me in recent weeks, and if you have other suggestions of things you would like me to raise, then please do get in touch.

Finally, through your regional HR meetings, we have been asking for volunteers to help get this work going and steer the direction that’s most helpful to you. Your engagement team contact will be in touch through your network if we need representation from your area.

I hope this update has been helpful and assures you that your views are being heard and action taken as a result. The team and I will continue to work hard to ensure we are representing you with the relevant bodies so please do keep sharing your ideas and challenges with us.
Please send any comments or feedback you may have by contacting me at Danielmortimer@nhsemployers.org

Best wishes

Daniel Mortimer
Chief Executive, NHS Employers

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