Hospital Dr News

1500 overseas doctors have had visa applications blocked this year

More than 1,500 doctors have had visa applications to enter the UK blocked this year, according to figures.

The Home Office has admitted to more than 6,000 refusals of applications by engineers, scientists, IT specialists, doctors and healthcare professionals.

The figures were obtained by Freedom of Information requests by the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

In addition to the doctors, 361 other healthcare professionals have had their applications for entry blocked.

CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said: “These figures show the scale of the problem and the urgency to find a solution. Across the country, businesses and public services are being blocked at the last hurdle from recruiting the people they need, including in health, engineering and tech, due to the visa cap. This leaves employers frustrated and the public poorly served.”

She said employers need a predictable immigration system, and yet the Tier 2 cap was increasing uncertainty.

Main said: “The cap is beginning to cause damage and it needs to be addressed quickly. In the immediate term, shortage and PhD level roles should be made exempt from the cap. This would be in line with the priority already afforded to these roles and would create the headroom for other vital roles.”

“In the long term, an immigration system for a Global Britain that supports research and innovation should not feature a cap on the international specialists we want to attract.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association Council Chair, commented: “These figures further highlight just how concerning it is that we are turning doctors away when the NHS is under such pressure.

“The Tier-2 visa quota has been reached for the fifth month in a row, yet there are still more than 100,000 NHS posts unfilled, with vacancy rates rising.

“At a time when the NHS is under enormous strain and struggling to fill positions, the current visa restrictions and arbitrary caps for non-EU workers entering the UK are inexplicable and threatening patient care and safety.”

Read the report. 

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