Commenting on the announcement Yesterday that the government plan to change migrant salary rules,
Ravi Subramanian, West Midlands Regional Secretary said:
"Five years ago the government took the short-sighted decision to cut the number of nursing training places, and the NHS is now paying the price.
So with too few nurses being trained in the UK, NHS trusts have been forced to recruit thousands of nurses from abroad. Quite apart from the devastating impact this has on health services around the world, recruiting staff from overseas hasn't come cheap for the NHS either.
Now in a set of crazy new rules due to come into force next year anyone recruited from outside the EU since 2011 who isn't earning more than £35,000 within six years will have to go home. With demand on the NHS increasing all the time, the sudden departure of many highly-trained staff will mean certain chaos for the NHS. One in four nurses in London are from overseas.
And it's not just nurses who will be affected – many workers from overseas employed in care homes and in home care across the UK could also find themselves without a job with equally devastating consequences on the care of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Strangely – despite the huge pressures on the NHS – the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) doesn't believe that the UK is suffering from a shortage of nurses. While ballet dancers, head chefs and nuclear waste managers might be on the official list of shortage occupations, nurses don't feature.
Aside from these proposals the MAC is also consulting on proposals to raise the salary threshold to £50,000 – if this happens, the NHS will never be able to recruit another nurse from outside the EU again.
Ministers must think again and put a stop to these rule changes before it is too late. Nurses and other health workers from overseas have made a vital and valuable contribution to the NHS over many years – without their hard work and dedication, the health service would have been unable to cope with increasing demand."