New migration rules will “cause chaos” for the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said.

The Government recently announced that non-European migrants who are not earning up to £35,000 will have to leave the UK after six years.

The RCN has criticised the plans, highlighting that the NHS currently employs a large number of overseas nurses – many of whom are paid between £21,000 and £28,000 a year, “nowhere near” the threshold of £35,000.

Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: “The immigration rules will cause chaos for the NHS and other care services.”

“At a time when demand is increasing, the UK is perversely making it harder to employ staff from overseas.”

The NHS has struggled with nursing shortages in recent years, with many Trusts having to rely upon migrant workers and temporary staff to ensure safe staffing levels.

It is thought that under the new rules, more than 3,300 NHS nurses could be deported by 2017. This number is estimated to double by 2020, wasting around £40m in recruitment costs.

It is possible to exclude certain professions from the policy if the UK is believed to have a shortage of skilled workers. However, nursing has not been added to the list.

Dr Mark Porter, of the British Medical Association, was also critical of the Government’s plans: “What did we hear in the election campaign from politicians of several parties? We were told immigrants are filling up our GP surgeries and our hospitals.”

“Well they are. They’re called doctors. And nurses. And porters and cleaners and clinical scientists. And without them, the NHS would be on its knees.”

Medical negligence solicitors

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