India was the source of the highest number of nurses recruited from non-EU countries into Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) between 2009 and 2015, latest figures show, amid concerns that some Indian health professionals face discrimination.
In a report released on Thursday, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of the Home Office said nurses from India and the Philippines “tended to have better English skills and…this made them preferred candidates for recruitment”.
The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has expressed concern over alleged discrimination against some Indian and other non-EU health professionals in the NHS.
Between 2009 and 2015, a total of 6,138 Indian nurses were recruited, accounting for 37% of the non-EU nurses employed by NHS trusts. Others in the top five source countries are the Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal and Australia.
Placing much of the blame for current nursing shortages on the sector itself, MAC chairman David Metcalf said: “(There) is no good reason why the supply of nurses cannot be sourced domestically. There seems to be an automatic presumption that non-EEA skilled migration provides the health and care sector with a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.”
MAC had previously found that, on average, non-EU nurses were being paid £6,000 less than equivalent UK workers.
Faced with a shortage of nurses, Britain last October moved nursing to the “shortage occupation list”. Professions mentioned in the list are not subject to several restrictions applicable to professionals migrating under other visa categories.