Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust is set to launch a recruitment drive for foreign nurses from within and outside the European Union (EU). Nurses located in EU countries and looking to work in the UK are exempt from visa requirements. However, non-EU nurses will usually require a Tier 2 visa to work in Britain.
Walsall Manor Hospital is currently experiencing a lack of nurses due to a national shortage and has been unable to attract a ‘sufficient’ number of newly qualified nurses. Board members at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust have now approved plans to launch an international recruitment campaign, after hearing that staff shortages are affecting hospital operating procedures and an inability to ‘guarantee safe staffing levels.’
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust “A campaign of EU and non-EU recruitment will now get underway.”
Will Britain leave the EU? The polls are inconclusive. if “Brexit” does occur then eventually it is going to make it even more difficult to bring in nurses. Currently, you can easily employ nurses who are citizens of EU Countries. It will be interesting to see what will happen to UK immigration policy after the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. If Britain does decide to leave the EU presumably it will take some time before this actually happens. Whatever happens the EU referendum debate is likely to have a lasting effect on UK immigration policy.
Tier 2 visa sponsorship
To hire non-EU based nurses, Walsall Manor Hospital needs to employ people under the Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence system valid for four years and Tier 2 visa system. The Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licence system was introduced in 2008, to further control and restrict immigration into the UK. UK companies need a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence to sponsor and employ foreign workers from outside of the European Union on Tier 2 visas.
Director of Nursing for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, Rachel Overfield “The impact on patient care is our priority, but we also have to be mindful of the impact on our existing workforce. This affects morale and also creates a risk of the trust losing its permanent staff.”
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust performance issues
Earlier in 2016, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust was put under special measures by the Care Quality commission, who rated the Trust’s performance as ‘inadequate.’ Inspectors specified that it must ensure an adequate number of qualified staff are available across all services.
A spokesperson for the Trust “While a national shortage exists, the effects are being felt locally. In Walsall, the Trust has held recruitment fairs, featured social media campaigns and come up with a range of measures to attract newly qualified recruits. But, these efforts have not attracted a sufficient number of nurses.
A successful overseas recruitment drive will save the Trust money long-term as it will lessen reliance on agency staff. The Trust will approach NHS Improvement for some funding towards the recruitment campaign, making up the rest of the cost from contingency funding.”
Overfield the Wallsall Director of Nursing also said that foreign nurses will be subjected to the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) assessment, which ensures that those nurses brought in from overseas have strong communication skills. At this point, it’s not known how many foreign nurses will be hired.
Recruitment from abroad also has its problems. In 2015, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust recruited 35 nurses and a total of 18 midwives from Italy and Greece. Just sixteen of those hired remained. Four of the nurses returned home, with one becoming a Clinical Support Worker.