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Nurse immigration rules must be relaxed, RCN insists

College hits back at government committee's claim that there is no national shortage of nurses

The RCN is seeking urgent talks with the members of a government committee who claim that there is no national shortage of adult branch nurses in the UK.

College leaders were mystified after the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) ruled that 'adult nurses' would not be added to the Home Office Shortage Occupation List. Such a change would have relaxed the entry requirements for overseas nurses and so made it easier for employers to recruit staff from outside the European Union.

The committee said its decision not to include nurses on the list was because it ‘did not receive evidence of a national shortage’.

But RCN chief executive Peter Carter hit back, insisting: ‘We provided detailed, extensive and unambiguous evidence of the shortage of nurses in the UK and the effect this was having on patients.

'Nurses who are stretched to breaking point will be utterly bemused as to how this conclusion has been reached, which reflects none of the realities of delivering daily care to patients.’

Dr Carter added that although recruiting from overseas was not a ‘sensible long-term solution’, it was necessary given the difficulties employers were experiencing.

He said the RCN would be contacting the MAC as a matter of urgency and urged it to reconsider its decision.

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