In a huge relief for the NRI nurses working in Britain, the UK government has included nursing as a profession in the shortage occupation list, which means that some 30,000 overseas nurses including thousands from India who were under the fear of being deported out under the new immigration rules, will not have to leave the country now.
As per the immigration rules announced earlier by the Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), overseas nurses can stay in UK only in the case of receiving a minimum annual salary of GBP 35,000, a salary equivalent to the salary of a senior nurse. This would have resulted in majority of the junior nurses to be axed from the country.
But this announcement may worsen healthcare in India, already reeling with a shortage of 2.4 million nurses. Interestingly, the Union health ministry in India was eager to take advantage of UK's new immigration policy and attract returning nurses with jobs. The ministry was anticipating employing these nurses on contractual basis under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) on a far higher salary than their counterparts in government hospitals.