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Research to look into UK's nursing labour market

Migration Advisory Committee-commissioned research will help decide if nursing should remain on shortage occupation list 

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is commissioning research to help it determine whether overseas applicants should continue to get priority status in the UK.

Home secretary Theresa May bowed to pressure from leading NHS bodies and unions on October 15 and, as a temporary measure, added nursing to the list of shortage occupations. 

It means nurses from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will be given priority when they apply to work in the UK. 

Non-EEA nurses who earn less than £35,000 a year and have worked here for six years no longer risk losing their visa rights, as had been proposed.

MAC is to review the addition of nurses to the list of shortage occupations and make recommendations by February. 

It is seeking tenders for research into what affects demand and supply of non-EEA nurses in the UK.

The research will need to include an analysis of Home Office visa data and qualitative research at a small number of NHS trusts to look into the nursing shortage issues they face. 

It will need to look at how the UK nursing labour market has evolved and consider why there is a shortage of UK-born nurses. 

RCN general secretary Janet Davies has previously pleaded for ‘a common sense approach’ to nurse recruitment and retention.

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