Hundreds of thousands of native British nursing candidates have been rejected over the past decade, while the government made it easier to bring in cheaper nurses from abroad, a report from Migration Watch UK has claimed.
The report, which was seen by Breitbart London, said that even during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic last year, over 23,000 British applications for nursing courses were rejected, despite the government offering 1,200 fast-tracked Health and Care Worker visas to foreigners during the same time.
Since 2010, over half of the nearly 650,000 UK-based nursing course applications were rejected, with 348,000 applicants in Britain being turned away, Migration Watch UK reported.
In recent years, the British government has sought to recruit tens of thousands of foreign nurses under the premise of a “shortage” of NHS staff. In 2016, for example, nurses were placed on the shortage occupation list — making it easier to hire from abroad — despite 36,200 Britain-based applications being rejected during the same year.
At the time, Migration Advisory Committee chairman Sir David Metcalfe said: “There is no good reason why the supply of nurses cannot be sourced domestically.”
In 2018, the study found 21,000 nursing applications were rejected, even as over 5,100 visas were granted to foreign nurses that year.
Since 2012/13, the percentage of non-British nationals joining the NHS has jumped from 16 per cent to 29 per cent.
The think tank suggested that the NHS’s desire to hire foreign healthcare workers could be to save costs, as migrant nurses on work permits earn around a fifth less than British nurses.
Commenting on the findings, Migration Watch chairman Alp Mehmet said: “It is utterly unacceptable that so many UK-based nursing candidates have been rejected while the NHS has been encouraged from the top to recruit many thousands of nurses from overseas, partly to save costs.
“Ministers’ fine words about investing in young British talent are looking ever-more hollow.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 1, 2020
The think tank said that the government added “insult to injury” by recently announcing the expansion of poor countries from which the NHS can “actively recruit” healthcare workers during a time of high unemployment in the United Kingdom.
The expansion saw the addition of over 100 ‘green-lighted’ countries, including both Zimbabwe and South Africa — two countries that are currently experiencing severe shortages of healthcare workers.
“The move is immoral because it risks taking much-needed health staff from countries that have much greater needs than the UK even as this country fails to train up enough of its own domestic nurses,” Migration Watch said.
The concern in Britain about poaching healthcare workers from the countries that trained them has been longstanding.
In 2015, the then-chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Peter Carter, said: “We cut our training programmes to save money, but we are going off to India, Africa, and the Philippines to recruit nurses they have trained and can ill afford to lose. I don’t feel good about going to a developing country and nicking their nurses.”
That year some 37,000 UK-based nursing applications were rejected. Dr Carter said that while some of the rejections “would have been appropriate… I can’t believe the majority of them wouldn’t have been fit.”
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 23, 2021
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