The nursing union warns more than 3,000 foreign nurses, including Filipinos, outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to return home under new immigration rules.
New measures recently unveiled by the UK government reveal that by 2017, any nurse earning less than £35,000 a year would be sent home. According to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), nearly 3,365 nurses in the UK may be affected by the new migration cap and that £20.19 million in NHS money will have been wasted in recruiting them.
Reports claim that if international recruitment remains alike as it is now, by 2020 the number of nurses affected by the threshold will be 6,620, employed at a cost of £39.7 million.
Meanwhile, RCN general secretary Peter Carter aired BBC Radio 4 that most nurses earned “nowhere near” the required amount and were paid amounting to the range of £21,000 to £28,000 in a year, while a “very experienced” nurse takes home about £31,000-£35,000.
|Nurse Pay and Roles|
|Band||Pay Range||Typical Role|
|5||£21,692 – £28,180||Entry level nurse or midwife|
|6||£26,041 – £34,876||Staff nurse, such as theatre nurse|
|7||£31,072 – £40,694||Senior nurse, such as ward sister / team leader|
|8||£39,632 – £81,618||Nurse consultant or matron|
To get through with this dilemma, the National Health Services (NHS) and RCN said that these nurses must first arrive at the senior nurse position or made either a nurse consultant or matron to make the required £35,000.
According to the UK’s immigration office, the implementation of the said policy is to reduce the demand for migrant labor and had given hospital four years to adjust to the changes.
“We changed the settlement rules in 2011 to break the link between coming to work in the UK and staying here permanently,” a Home Office spokesman said in the report.
On the contrary, RCN claimed the scheme will only intensify a severe shortage of nurses and leave hospitals with nothing. However, David Cameron, referring to the Migration Advisory Committee, defended their decision.
“They haven’t put nursing on that shortage occupation list and I think we should listen to their advice above all,” he said.
There are more than 400,000 nurses working in the NHS and over 600,000 registered to work. The Philippines is reported to have the highest number of foreign health workers in the UK at more than 20,000 nurses in 2015, according to the Nursing & Midwifery Council.