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Specialist healthcare recruiter MSI Group has backed the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) position that new immigration laws – which mean that workers recruited from outside the EU since 2011 who earn less than £35,000 a year after six years will have to go home – will cause chaos.

The RCN has warned the Home Office that deporting low-earning professionals after six years will exacerbate the shortage of nurses in the UK and cost the NHS tens of millions in recruitment.

Research by the College suggests that up to 3,365 nurses, who cost £20.19m to recruit, could be affected. But it says that figure could spiral by 2020, particularly if workforce pressures lead to increased international recruitment, in which case 29,755 nurses, costing more than £178.5m to recruit, could be affected.

Nurses do not currently feature on the Government’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL) which includes roles which are exempt from immigration rules – something that the RCN has previously contested.

Commenting on why he supports the RCN’s position, Nick Simpson, CEO of MSI said;

“As an organisation which is on the front line of recruitment into the NHS, we concur with the RCN’s position that new immigration rules could cause chaos for the NHS. Indeed, many of the Trusts that we work with have already found that recruiting the appropriate number of nurses, with the correct skills mix, is becoming increasingly challenging.

“Changes to visa requirements – namely that professionals who do not meet the high income threshold can remain in the UK for a maximum of six years - mean that many qualified and able non-EU candidates with relevant UK experience are no longer able to work in the UK. This is creating an unnecessary churn of non-EEA nurses which is of no benefit to the health service.

“As the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world, the RCN has serious concerns that health care providers are struggling to recruit nurses from the UK and the European Economic Area. With this in mind, it is unfathomable that adult nurses are not on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). In the current climate, it is only by opening the doors to a global talent pool that the NHS can recruit the brightest and best nurses – of the appropriate level - to ensure the highest levels of patient care.”

- Ends

Note to editors:

MSI Group provides nurses and HCA's through NHS framework agreements - including the National Collaborative Framework for the supply of Nursing and Nursing related staff (formally known as LPP) - to ensure that NHS trusts never have to compromise on value and compliance.

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