The UK immigration story generally consists of a progressive tightening of the rules and the requirements. If we could go back in time 15 years we would encounter an environment with no Home Office visa fees, short simple immigration rules, broad rights of appeal and a generally more liberal immigration regime. Things are an awful lot different these days.
But occasionally things may move in the opposite direction. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has announced that it is relaxing their English language requirement for foreign nurses. Their current test is apparently quite difficult, and has to be taken by nurses of any nationality, even if they come from English-speaking countries (and it seems that even some of these fail).
A new test – an occupational English language test – is being introduced by the NMC which should be less onerous than the current IELTS academic test.
The UK Visas & Immigration English language requirement (which is additional and different) is, as far as we know, staying in place, but nurses are no doubt encouraged by the fact that they if come from majority English-speaking countries such as Australia they are deemed to automatically meet the requirements. And nurses from countries such as the Philippines – where English is widely taught and spoken – should not have too much trouble in passing the B1 level test.
And, on a different but similarly happy note, the Prime Minister has announced that, in the context of Brexit, “EU citizens living lawfully in the UK today will be able to stay” and that, at some point in the future, the Permanent Residence comprehensive health insurance requirement (for students and those who are financially self-sufficient) will be dropped.
We must emphasise to our readers very strongly that this hasn’t happened yet, and that politicians’ promise are an uncertain commodity and shouldn’t be fully relied on.
But things seem to be looking up at the moment.