1. ITV Report

Foreign nurses being refused visas to work in UK hospitals

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.

"It's very frustrating when you've got people who want to come and work here and we've got gaps and we desperately would like to bring those people and make our hospital better and provide better patient experience by providing more nurses. Also it increases the strain on the nurses who are here working.

– Catherine Morgan, Director of Nursing, QEH

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."