A planned shakeup of UK immigration policy has been criticised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). Earlier this year, the Home Office announced that it would change the rules for non-European Union workers wanting to settle in the UK. As of 2016, skilled temporary workers will have to earn at least £35,000 before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

Meanwhile, temporary permission to enter and remain in Britain will be capped at six years. However, this will not apply to ‘shortage occupation jobs’. Those set to be affected by the changes may be keen to contact immigration solicitors for assistance.

In an impact assessment of the plans, the government noted that nearly half of non-EU migrant nurses could be affected by the cap. Despite this, it suggested that the changes will not have a significant impact on the nursing workforce because the proportion of individuals who will be prevented from settling is low relative to the size of the total labour force.

It remarked: “The likely reduction due to the settlement salary threshold is likely to lie in the hundreds or low thousands, when there are an estimated 698,000 nurses working in the UK.”

The government believes that 48 per cent of migrant nurses would be excluded.

However, responding to the proposals, the RCN revealed it has “grave concerns”, the Nursing Times reports.

Commenting on the issue, the body warned it would result in labour shortages and future difficulties in terms of attracting nurses from overseas.

The organisation’s chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “It is deeply concerning that it looks like almost half of overseas nurses from outside the EU would not be eligible to qualify to settle in the UK after 2016 as a result of these changes.”

Individuals who are seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK can contact immigration solicitors to help them make their case.

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