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Britain announces restrictions on overseas nurses

Written by: Staff
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London, July 4 (UNI) Foreign nurses will suffer entry restrictions in Britain, as imposed on doctors from countries outside the European Union (EU), due to the new immigration laws.

The new laws have banned the employment of foreign nurses by the National Health Service (NHS) unless a job was shown as impossible to be filled by British or EU applicants. The work permit, like in the case of Indian or any doctor from non-EU countries would not be issued for Britain.

Indian nurses would suffer the most. Of the nearly 11,500 foreign nurses that came to Britain from outside the EU in 2004-05, India supplied the most followed by Philippines and Australia. In total, 3690 had come from India, 2521 from Philippines and 981 from Australia. The least, 205, had come from Pakistan.

Most Indian nurses were at senior positions starting with salaries around 20,970 pounds per annum.

The new rule removes nurses from the Home Office shortage occupation list. The decision follows evidence that fewer than one in five student nurses graduating this summer here has a job to go to as hospital shed staff. So the move is, apparently, a reaction to a growing number of home-trained unemployed nurses but the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) was critical.

The general secretary of RCN Dr Beverly Malone said international nurses ''have always been there for the UK in times of need and it beggars belief that they are now being made scapegoats for the current deficit crisis.'' She warned that the foreign nurses were mostly needed in bands five and six ''those who have between a few months and 18 months experience'' and they are the bands which would be affected. This is correct. Over 150,000 nurses would retire in the next five years or so and the vacancies could never be filled with only home-grown nurses. But then Lord Warner, the Health Secretary, has been intent on ''cleansing'' the Health Services of medical staff from non-EU countries, he added.

UNI XC SI BD1724

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