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#U-Turn: Government lifts restrictions on recruiting foreign nurses.

Restrictions on appointing foreign nurses have been temporarily lifted to spur recruitment.

Nurses will be added to the government’s Shortage Occupation List, which means nurses from outside the European Economic Area will have their applications prioritised.

The Department of Health said the move was designed to ease the pressure on the NHS after the government introduced a cap on NHS trusts hiring expensive agency staff.

The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “Safe staffing across all our hospitals and care homes is a crucial priority.

“The temporary changes announced today will ensure the NHS has the nurses it needs to deliver the highest standards of care without having to rely on rip-off staffing agencies that cost the taxpayer billions of pounds a year.

“We are also recruiting more homegrown nurses than ever to deliver a truly seven-day NHS. There are already more than 8,000 additional nurses on our wards since 2010 and we are investing in our future workforce with a record 50,000 nurses currently in training.”

The temporary change will be subject to review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, which will present further evidence to the government by next February.

According to the government, Health Education England has increased nurse training places by 14% over the past two years and is forecasting that more than 23,000 extra nurses will be in place by 2019.

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