Hospitals in the East of England say hundreds of foreign nurses are being refused visas to work in the UK because of Home Office rules on immigration.
The numbers obtained by a Freedom of Information request by the Royal College of Nursing reveal that across the UK 2,341 applications by Trusts for Certificate of Sponsorship were refused between April and November 2015. In the Eastern region, East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust had the most refusals with 84 denied permission, followed by Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn with 82 and CambridgeUniversity Hospitals at 66. Bedford Hospital had 45 refusals and Luton and Dunstable had 15.
A Home Office spokesman said: "The restrictions on Tier 2 visa places are designed to ensure businesses recruit from within the UK when people have the skills they need. Places are prioritised to ensure visas are granted to those the UK needs most. "In October, the Home Secretary agreed to place nurses on the shortage occupation list on a short-term basis to make it easier for health trusts to fill vacancies over the winter months. "The Migration Advisory Committee has been asked to review whether nurses should remain on the list and they will report on this next month."