The statistics, obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the RCN to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), reveal that 607 applications by South East Trusts for Certificate of Sponsorship were refused between April and November 2015.
When an organisation recruits a nurse from outside the European Economic Area they must apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship. Until November last year, nurses were not on the shortage occupation list (SOL) and as a result the number of Certificates was limited.
Patricia Marquis, RCN South East Regional Director says: “These figures show how Trusts were desperately trying to bring nurses to work in this country, only to have their entry denied. The top priority for Trusts is to make sure they have enough staff to deliver safe care for patients, if nursing is taken off the shortage occupation list there is a real risk that once again Trusts will face more recruitment difficulty.”
Nursing is only temporarily on the shortage occupation list. The RCN is highlighting these figures ahead of the MAC’s final recommendation as a reminder of the difficulties that Trusts and other health organisations face, and the potential impact on patient care when nursing is not the list.
Patricia continues: “There is still a workforce crisis in the NHS, and until enough nurses are trained in the UK, health organisations still need to be able to recruit nurses from overseas. With the cap on spending on agency nurses now in effect, this is more urgent than ever.