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Nuclear Installations Inspectorate

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made by HM Nuclear Installations Inspectorate in recruiting inspectors to undertake the generic design assessment of proposed new nuclear reactors; what arrangements exist to facilitate visa and security vetting of foreign candidates for these posts; and whether any difficulties relating to (a) visas and (b) vetting have been encountered during the recruitment process to date. (205231)

NII is making progress in recruiting new staff. This will allow it to transfer experienced inspectors into the teams undertaking the generic design assessments.

The first recruitment drive since the increase in salaries of NII inspectors was agreed with HM Treasury in late 2007, ended in February with about 160 job applications. Interviews have now been held and a number of offers of employment have been made. It is too soon to say how many new recruits will result from this campaign.

A second recruitment drive was launched on 11 April 2008.

Whether an applicant may require a visa to attend an interview for a job in the UK is unconnected with the specific job application and is a matter for decision by the UK Border Agency, or ultimately the Home Office. Only when a candidate has received a job offer are they subjected to vetting procedures appropriate for UK public bodies. Prospective NII inspectors will normally be required to obtain national security vetting clearance to the security check level and no difficulties have been experienced to date in the current recruitment campaign.