Good news for South African Nu

Good news for South African Nurses wanting to work in the UK

In a surprising move earlier this month, the UK Home Office has announced that the occupation of Nursing is now included on the UK Shortage Occupation List.

Good news for South African Nu

The surprising decision was taken after pressure from some key role-players in the UK Health Industry. Factors that influenced the decision include the potential serious risks associated with the current high nurse vacancy rates and the approaching winter period that might put the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK under pressure.

The inclusion of Nurses on the Shortage Occupation List is however only done on a temporary basis, and the UK Home Office will review the decision, pending a report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the issue. The Committee has to report back to the UK Home Secretary, Theresa May by 15 February 2016.

The MAC did consider the issue of Nursing Shortages in February 2015, but according to the Home Secretary, since the last report by the committee, there were increasing numbers of NHS Trusts and other interested organisations that raised concerns about nurse staffing levels within the NHS. She also said that she was advised that nursing vacancy rates may be as high as 10% across the Health and Social care sector.

The Royal College of Nursing responded to this decision and said that the decision will enable hard-pressed NHS and social care providers to obtain visas for international nurses, and in the process alleviate significant staff shortages.

What is the Implication of Nurses included on the UK Shortage Occupation List for South African Nurses?

Occupations experiencing shortages of labour are listed on the UK Shortage Occupation List. If an occupation is included on this list, the employer is NOT required to advertise the position to obtain a permit for the applicant.

Advertising of a position needs to be done otherwise, to ensure that there is not a suitable EU candidate that can fill the position. The advertising of a position is called the Resident Labour Market Test. Occupations that fall under the Shortage Occupation List, however, are exempt from having to meet the Resident Labour Market Test, as the Shortage Occupation List is already proof that the specific field is experiencing shortages.

The employer will also score higher points when applying for the restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which means that, if the monthly cap is reached in the month that they apply, they will be more likely still have the CoS issued to them.

South African Nurses, as non-EU citizens, are thus now able to apply for Nursing positions in the UK. The UK employer will then be able to obtain apply for a Tier 2 visa for the South African nurse.

Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants have a dedicated team of registered Immigration Consultants in our Tier 2 Work Permit Department. Employee, or employer – we can assist from A – Z with the Tier 2 Process. Contact us today for advice in your unique circumstances! or


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