Nurses to stay on shortage occupation list - for now

March 24, 2016

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has blamed the cut in the number of nurse training places in England for its ‘reluctant’ recommendation that nursing should remain on the shortage occupation list (SOL).  It recommends a maximum annual cap of 5,000 places for nurses, to gradually drop over the next three years.

In its latest review the committee says the current shortage of nurses is mostly caused by factors which could, and should, have been anticipated by the health, care and independent sectors. But, it goes on to say that health sector employers should be allowed to continue using the SOL to fill gaps in staffing because there is no other short-term solution.

MAC Chair, Professor Sir David Metcalf, says:

“There is no good reason why the supply of nurses cannot be supplied domestically. There seems to be an automatic presumption that non-EEA skilled migration provides the health and care sector with a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.”

On average migrant nurses are paid £6,000 less than equivalent UK workers. And the MAC believes that employers are using them to save money rather than deal with shortages through other means.