Thursday, May 26, 2022

Shock as UK stops hiring of Kenyan nurses

The United Kingdom has stopped the planned hiring of Kenyan nurses. The UK, through the department of health, said that it had noted a shortage of workforce in Kenya, and there was no point hiring Kenyan nurses when they could be hired back at home. However, nurses who have already received conditional job offers from UK employers will not be affected.

The UK further said that it would carry out fresh assessment to find out how any future hiring and exchange programs for nurses would benefit Kenya and the UK. This turnaround comes as a shocker for thousands of Kenyan nurses who were expected to migrate for work in the United Kingdom.

Kenya and the United Kingdom had reached an agreement over the migration for work purposes for Kenyan nurses during president Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to the UK in July 2021. The agreement was signed by UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Kenya’s Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui. Under the agreement, the unemployed Kenyan nurses were to serve in the UK’s National Health Service before returning to work in Kenya.

The agreement came barely months after the UK announced that it would allow skilled Kenyan workers without degrees to migrate and work in the country. Britain’s new points-based immigration system lowered the requirement for job applicants to minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent from degree-level. “An applicant’s job must be at the minimum skill level of A-level or equivalent, rather than degree level under the current system,” said the British home office.

Kenyans applying for jobs won’t need KRA, CRB, EACC, DCI clearance

However, the recruitment of the nurses in Kenya has been murky with disputed claims that nurses had failed English tests. In October 2021, Health cabinet secretary Mutahi Kagwe claimed that out of 300 nurses who had sat for the UK English test, only 10 had managed to sit for the exam. This allegation was disputed by the Nursing Council of Kenya and the Ministry of Labour, who said that the nurses were yet to sit the exams.

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