With the tightening of the Tier 2 visa immigration rules in the United Kingdom, over 60,000 foreign nurses from the Philippines, India, South Africa, Nigeria, Australia, Zimbabwe and Kenya face having to return to their home countries in the coming years. The “lucky” ones face a long and uncertain route towards being eligible to even apply for indefinite leave to remain with the prospect of further rule changes never too far away.

From 6 April 2016 most Tier 2 visa immigrants from outside the European Union must be earning £35,000 or more to qualify for UK indefinite leave to remain (also known as permanent residence), says the Home Office. Theresa May said the new rules will help to reduce the number of non-European Union nationals and their dependents that are granted permanent residence each year from 60,000 to 20,000.

Affect 3,300 NHS nurses by 2017

Experts predict that thousands of well-qualified nurses could be forced to leave the United Kingdom. The Royal College of Nursing said the Tier 2 visa rule change would affect 3,300 NHS nurses by as early as 2017.

The Home Office said the rules would help reduce demand for migrant labour. And Prime Minister David Cameron even got drawn into the issue, saying more homegrown nurses were in the process of being recruited to replace the foreign workers forced to leave the UK.

Canadian Permanent Residence for Registered Nurses

Canada is experiencing a critical shortage of all healthcare professionals including Registered Nurses. Canada has made attracting well-qualified nurses a cornerstone of its provincial and federal immigration programs. These immigration programs are welcoming and generous as successful applicants and their family members will be granted permanent residence. This means you will enter Canada with no uncertainty surrounding your career progression or long-term immigration status.

National Occupation Outlook for Registered Nurses over the 10-Year Period 2013 to 2022

Analysis of key labour market indicators suggests that the number of job seekers was insufficient to fill the job openings in this occupational group.

Over the 2013-2022 period, an occupation will be in excess demand (a shortage of workers) if the projected number of job openings is significantly greater than the projected number of job seekers. For Registered Nurses, over the 2013-2022 period, job openings are expected to total 156,576 with just 110,130 job seekers available to fill the job openings.

Therefore, there will be 46,476 Registered Nurse positions unfilled during 2013 to 2022. The Canadian Government is aiming to address this critical shortage by encouraging higher rates of immigration to Canada by Registered Nurses and by encouraging more Canadians to take up nursing as a profession.

Wage Estimates

The average wage for a Registered Nurse in Canada varies by province and is between $35 and $59 per hour. At the high end Registered Nurses earn between $40 and $81 per hour according to the prevailing wage in the province.

Next Steps

Given the certainty of the Canadian immigration process for Registered Nurses as well as the labour market information demonstrating that there is significant demand for Registered Nurses in the next 10 years, we encourage all Registered Nurses currently in the UK on Tier 2 visas to consider their long-term career and immigration goals carefully.