On 15 October 2015 the Home Secretary agreed to include nurses on the shortage occupation list on a temporary basis.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been commissioned to conduct a review of nursing shortages for a report to the Secretary of State due by 15 February 2016. However this interim measure will be put in place with immediate effect.
The implications for the health industry are significant:
- Employers will be exempt from undertaking a resident labour market test when offering a nursing position to overseas candidates.
- Requests for restricted Certificate of Sponsorship are much more likely to succeed. These requests will be prioritised over other occupations that require external advertising. Shortage occupation roles score 130 points rather than the previous 20 points (where resident labour market testing is required).
- The requirement to earn £35,000 or more from 2016 to qualify for settlement in the UK will not apply to migrants who are nurses are on the shortage occupation list or appeared on the list during any time the applicant was being sponsored for the role.
It is anticipated that the demand for certificates will increase as a result of this interim measure. The increase in the request for certificates may also have an impact on other occupations which are not on the shortage occupation list as the annual limit on certificates has not changed.
For the November panel, there are 1,808 certificates available.
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