15 / 10 / 2015 Midnight
Today (15 October 2015) the Home Secretary has agreed to include nursing on the shortage occupation list.
This is an interim measure whilst the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) conduct a review of nurse supply and demand to determine if nursing should be included on the list beyond this interim period.
The MAC has been asked to report to the Home Office by 15 February 2016.
The interim measure to recognise nursing as a shortage occupation means:
- applications for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship (RCoS) will be prioritised by the UKVI points allocation system - increasing the likelihood of nursing applications being granted. Applications will be considered as part of the shortage occupation list from the December 2015 UKVI allocation panel.
- employers can issue a certificate of sponsorship to an individual from outside of the EEA for a nursing role without the need to demonstrate that a resident labour market test (RLMT) has been carried out.
- the requirement to earn £35,000 or more to qualify for permanent settlement in the UK (indefinite leave to remain) will not apply to individuals for whom nursing has appeared on the shortage occupation list at any time during their employment in a nursing role. They will still need to meet all the other settlement criteria.
The Home Office letter that formally asks the MAC to undertake a review of nurse supply and demand has been published on Gov.UK.
The rules for sponsors
The Home Office has confirmed that employers must only apply for RcoS when you are certain they will be used. Before applying for a RCoS you are required to ensure the individual you are sponsoring has:
- passed part 1 of the NMC test of competence
- been issued with an offer of employment.
To not follow these requirements will risk the move from an interim to a more permanent position on the shortage occupation list.
Consequence of prioritising nursing
There is still an overall cap of RCoS for the year and this will not be increasing. You will be aware that the inclusion of nursing on the shortage occupation list is likely to have consequences for other RCoS applications both within the health sector and beyond, if the demand for RCoS remains high. It is therefore critical that you work within the requirements of the RCoS allocation process.
More information about the immigration rules and the process of professional registration is available in our web section about recruiting nurses from overseas.
We will continue to keep employers informed as the MAC review of nurse supply and demand progresses, sign up for our weekly workforce e-bulletin for regular updates.