4. International recruitment

4.30. From the inception of the NHS 70 years ago, patients have benefited from the expertise, commitment and compassion of staff who have come to work in the NHS. The Windrush anniversary this year was an important opportunity to celebrate the contribution of staff from the Caribbean. We owe a considerable debt to our staff from the European Economic Area (EEA), who – whether consultants, community nurses or catering assistants – play their part in keeping the NHS running. We want staff from the EEA that are currently working across the NHS to stay after the UK exits the European Union. Many trusts are now meeting the cost of applying for settled status for their staff from the EEA. NHS England and NHS Improvement will directly monitor NHS staffing flows post-Brexit to advise government on any necessary consequential action.

4.31. In the longer-term, we need to ensure we are training more of the people we need domestically. But this will take time given it takes three years to train a nurse and at least five years of training before a doctor can work in the NHS, so in the short-term we must also continue to ensure that high-skilled people from other countries from whom it is ethical to recruit are able to join the NHS. This will mean a step change in the recruitment of international nurses to work in the NHS and we expect that over the next five years this will increase nurse supplies by several thousand each year.

4.32. We recognise that doing so will require central support. The workforce implementation plan will set out new national arrangements to support NHS organisations in recruiting overseas. We will explore the potential to expand the Medical Training Initiative so that more medical trainees from both developed and developing countries can spend time learning and working in the NHS.

4.33. The changes to the immigration rules in 2018, which exempted all doctors and nurses from the immigration cap, have facilitated more responsive routes for recruiting staff in these professional We will work with government to ensure the post-Brexit migration system provides the necessary certainty for health and social care employers, particularly for shortage roles.

4.34. The professional regulatory bodies have a significant role in enabling the recruitment and employment of appropriately trained overseas professionals in the UK. It is critical that individuals looking to register to work in the UK can move through regulatory processes quickly, while upholding the high standards the public expects. The NMC will update the English Language testing requirements for 2019 and we will continue to work with regulators to ensure that language competency and international registration processes are proportionate to risk and responsive to need.