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Changes to restrictions on overseas nurse recruitment

15 October 2015

The government announced that it would make temporary changes to the rules for recruiting nurses from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA). It confirmed that nurses would be added to the government's shortage occupation list on an interim basis, allowing applications to work in the UK from nurses outside of the EEA to be prioritised. The aim of this change was to ease pressure on the NHS.

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said that this change, alongside other measures to increase recruitment within the UK, would ensure the NHS had the nurses it needed without having to rely on agencies.

In October, the government also commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to review whether it should extend the interim measure. MAC published a report with its review and recommendations in February 2016. MAC found evidence of a UK-wide shortage of nurses and concluded that nurses should be kept on the shortage occupation list.


Department of Health.
Restrictions on nurse recruitment from overseas changed.
Department of Health; 15 October 2015.

Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
Partial review of the shortage occupation list; nursing.
Migration Advisory Committee; 2016.