Nurses now included on the UK Shortage Occupation List

The UK Home Office announced that Nurses are now included on the UK Shortage Occupation List on a temporary basis. This decision was taken given the potential risks associated with high nurse vacancy rates and the approaching winter period that might put the NHS under pressure.

The UK Home Office will review the decision, pending the report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), on the issue. The MAC has to report back to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, by 15 February 2016.

Although the MAC considered the issue of nursing shortages in February 2015, the Home Secretary said that since this report, there were increasing numbers of NHS Trusts and other interested organisations that raised concerns about nurse staffing levels within the NHS. She further said that she was advised that nursing vacancy rates may be as high as 10% across the health and social care sector.

The Royal College of Nursing responded by saying that the decision will enable hard pressed NHS and social care providers to obtain visas for international nurses, and in the process alleviate significant staffing shortages.

What is the implication of Nurses being on the UK Shortage Occupation List?

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises the UK Home Office as to which areas of the UK labour market are experiencing shortages. The occupations experiencing shortages of labour is listed in the Shortage Occupation List.

If an occupation is on the UK Shortage Occupation List, employers are NOT required to advertise the position. The advertising is usually done to ensure that there is not a suitable EU candidate that can fill the position. This is called the Resident Labour Market Test. Occupations which fall under the Shortage Occupation List, however, are exempted from having to meet the Resident Labour Market Test.

It also means that an employer will score higher points when applying for the restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which means that, if the monthly cap is reached in the month that they apply, they will be more likely to still have the CoS issued to them.

With the occupation of Nurses added to the Shortage Occupation List, it is now possible for non-EU citizens to apply for a Nursing position in the UK. The UK employer will then be able to obtain apply for a Tier 2 visa for the employee.

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have a dedicated Tier 2 Department, able to assist employers and employees from A – Z with the Tier 2 visa process. Please feel free to contact us today to get your process started.