Career progression among overseas nurses working in the UK is being stifled by immigration rules, the RCN has warned.
Last year nurses on Agendo for Change bands 5 and 6 were removed from the Home Office shortage occupation list (HOSOL). Since then employers have only been allowed to recruit band 5 and 6 nurses from outside the European Union (EU) if they can prove there are no suitable candidates from within the EU or the UK.
Nurses from outside the EU and already working in the UK must also apply for a new work permit if they change employers. RCN immigration adviser Susan D'Cruze said the rule restricts the movement of overseas nurses.
'Many overseas nurses want to move to new employers, either to progress their careers or for family reasons. But changing employers requires a new permit and this is now difficult to get,' she explained.
The Department of health commissioned a review of staff shortages, which last month recommended that midwives be removed from the HOSOL The Home Office has yet to decide whether to take up the recommendation.
Royal college of Midwives director Frances Day-Stirk described the recommendation as short-sighted, adding: This shows a worrying lack of understanding of the problems facing England's maternity services.'