Following a campaign by the Welsh Liberal Democrats, the UK Government have announced that nurses will be added to the UK’s shortage occupation list – meaning nurses earning under £35,000 are no longer at risk of deportation.
Previously, nurses from non-EU countries who have worked in the UK for 6 years or more at a salary lower than £35,000 would have been required to return to their country of origin.
Welsh Liberal Democrat AM William Powell previously raised concerns with the Home Office and within the Welsh Assembly that these plans would badly affect staffing levels in the Welsh NHS, especially in more rural areas. He also reported that the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust faced delays to their international recruitment programme because of the uncertainty caused by the plans.
William Powell AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, said:
“This is a victory for common sense. When I raised this issue in the Senedd yesterday it was laughed off by Conservative Assembly Members. I’m glad that their colleagues in London at least have seen sense and u-turned on this vital issue.
“The previous plans put health boards on both sides of Offa’s Dyke in a great amount of uncertainty, not to mention how the nurses themselves and their families must have felt at the prospect of being thrown out of their home.”
Kirsty Williams AM, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, added:
“Our NHS relies on the hard work of its staff, many of whom were born overseas and without whom our health services simply couldn’t function. I and my party are hugely grateful for the role that migrant workers play in building our society.
“I’m glad that the UK Government have finally seen sense on this issue, but if they didn’t keep allowing their ideological demonisation of migrants to cloud their judgement we could’ve avoided this situation entirely.”