Nepal and UK sign agreement to recruit Nepalese nurses into UK healthcare sector

Nepal and the United Kingdom signed a bilateral health partnership agreement on Monday, opening the door for Nepalese nurses to work in the island nation.

Under the government-to-government arrangement, Nepalese citizens between the ages of 20 and 45 are eligible to apply for high-paying nursing jobs.

Prospective candidates are not required to pay recruitment fees.

Nepali citizens will receive the same rights, privileges, protection and dignity as UK healthcare professionals under the agreement.

The annual salary of registered nurses ranges from 4 million rupees (£27,000) to 4.8 million rupees (£32,000), according to the statement released by the Department of Labour, Employment and Security social.

The number of workers who will be hired has not been determined, but Nepalese officials say it is a pilot phase. The UK will gradually recruit healthcare professionals other than nurses in the near future, government officials say.

The Covid-19 pandemic has created increasing challenges for healthcare professionals around the world.

According to reports, the UK is facing one of the worst healthcare worker shortages in the world. The National Health Service, the statutory body responsible for public health services in the country, revealed that in the first half of 2019-2020, more than 43,000 nursing positions were vacant.

Not just nurses, the King’s Fund reveals the National Health Service faces a global shortage of 100,000 healthcare workers in all areas. If current trends continue, the number of healthcare workers needed in the UK could reach 250,000 by 2030.

The UK has relaxed the requirement criteria for hiring nurses from foreign countries to increase their recruitment amid an acute shortage of healthcare professionals, according to international media.

According to a joint statement issued by the ministry.

“The agreement established a bilateral government-to-government agreement on fair and ethical recruitment,” the statement read.

“Today, the UK and Nepal signed a working agreement allowing the recruitment of Nepalese nurses into the UK healthcare system to benefit the healthcare sectors of both countries. Successful Nepalese nurses will only have nothing to pay for recruitment and will enjoy the same benefits as nurses in the UK,” said Ambassador Pollitt. tweeted.

“Our memorandum of understanding with healthcare professionals marks the start of a pilot phase,” the British Embassy wrote on Twitter.

According to the British Embassy, ​​the competitive application process would be launched by the first half of 2023.

Both governments are currently working on an implementation protocol for the nursing category.

“This is a landmark agreement,” said Thaneshwar Bhusal, undersecretary at the ministry’s overseas employment management section. “It will take us at least three to four months to prepare the protocol for sending Nepalese nurses to the UK.”

Officials said the protocol would be ready soon, but due to the upcoming general election it would be delayed.

A cabinet meeting on June 14 had given the green signal to the government to strike a deal to send nurses to the UK.

Prospective applicants must have obtained a nursing degree, Bachelor of Science in Nursing – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing BN) or Master of Science in Nursing from a recognized institution.

They must hold an active professional license from the Nepal Nursing Council and have at least two years of experience in a registered hospital in Nepal, according to the document unveiled by the government.

Aspiring nurses will also be tested for their English skills through the International English Language Testing System or the Professional English Test.

They must achieve a minimum score of 7 each in Listening, Speaking and Reading, and a minimum score of 6.5 in Writing in the International English Language Testing System.

Candidates must score at least a B grade in the reading, writing and listening sections, and a C+ grade in the writing section of the Professional English test.

In addition, degrees obtained from an approved foreign institution are also recognized if they allow registration as a nurse, in accordance with the criteria document.

After being hired in the UK, Nepalese nurses will work as orderlies.

The employer, the National Health Service Trust, will cover accommodation costs for 12 weeks for Nepalese nurses.

Nepali nurses will, however, be required to pass an objective structured clinical examination. Objective structured clinical examination is increasingly used in nursing education to assess clinical competence at the pre-registration and postgraduate levels.

They must pass the exam within eight months of arriving in the UK in three attempts. “Otherwise, the visa will be revoked,” the ministry said.

After passing the Objective Structured Clinical Examination, the Healthcare Assistant will be supported to complete their registration with the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council. After that, they can start working as a registered nurse at level 5 or above depending on their skills and experience.

While newly qualified and registered nurses start at level 5, the most qualified and experienced nursing consultants and specialists can climb up to level 9, the highest pay grade, according to nurses.co.uk.

Nurses will also be entitled to join a wide range of schemes, including the National Health Service Pension Scheme.

After being fully registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council of the UK, Nepalese nurses will benefit from a one-year preceptorship training program to help them in their transition to a registered nurse in the UK.

Other benefits include publicly funded healthcare for the applicant and any partners and dependent children, and access to publicly funded schooling for children aged 4 to 18.

According to the World Health Organization, the number of healthcare workers worldwide will be 12.9 million fewer by 2035. An aging workforce, fewer people entering the profession, retirements shortages, inadequate training and increasing demands from a growing and aging population are some of the reasons attributed to the global shortage of healthcare workers.

Under the agreement, the Nepalese Ministry of Overseas Employment will work with the UK Department of Health and Social Welfare and its designated entity in the hiring process.

“While this decision will affect Nepal’s health sector in the long term, it is a good opportunity for our nurses to find work in the UK,” said Professor Mana Kumari Rai, President of the Association of Nurses. Nurses of Nepal, the national governing body. nursing corps.

“While many nurses are unemployed, even those with jobs are paid little,” Rai said. “However, policy makers must also consider its long-term impact on the health sector in Nepal.”

Nepalese nurses complain about the salary structure in Nepal, which they describe as labor exploitation. In Nepal, hospitals pay as little as Rs 15,000 a month, they say.

According to the Nepal Nursing Council, 72,550 nurses, 36,774 auxiliary nurse midwives, 847 foreign nurses, 645 specialists and 31 midwives were registered in Nepal as of July 10 this year.

Several developed countries lack health professionals to deal with emergencies, which was revealed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Maldivian government has also shown interest in hiring Nepalese nurses,” Bhusal told the Post earlier. “We are trying to sign a bilateral agreement with the Maldives.”

Israel’s care sector, mainly hospitals, nursing homes and day care centers, opened its doors to Nepalese caregivers after a labor agreement was signed between Nepal and Israel on September 20, 2020.

Similarly, Japan opened its labor market to Nepalese as Specified Skilled Workers in March 2019 after the two countries signed a memorandum of cooperation to send Nepalese workers with residency status.

Nepalese migrant workers sent home 1 trillion rupees in the last fiscal year ending mid-July, a record money transfer to Nepal since Nepalese began seeking employment abroad there more than two decades ago.

“This is the 11th bilateral labor agreement signed by Nepal,” Bhusal said. “Well-paying jobs in developed countries are obviously an opportunity for the Nepalese.”

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