Hospital Dr News

Government to allow more overseas doctors and nurses to work for the NHS

The Home Secretary has relaxed immigration rules to allow more doctors and nurses from outside the EU into the UK.

The Home Office said foreign medics would be excluded from the government’s cap on skilled migration.

The cap – introduced by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary – sets a limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 people a year.

In recent months, the quota has been over-subscribed and significant numbers of overseas doctors have been turned down – at a time when there is a workforce crisis in the NHS.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair, commented: “It will be a relief to patients and staff across the NHS that common sense has finally prevailed and the Tier-2 visa restrictions on non-EU doctors and nurses are to be lifted.”

He added: “These regulations have prevented thousands of non-EU doctors being allowed to work in the UK to fill empty posts that the health service is unable to fill. The NHS has always relied on these highly-skilled, experienced overseas doctors to provide frontline care to patients, and they are needed more than ever at a time when the NHS is under mounting pressure from rising demand, stagnating funding and staff shortages.

Figures suggested that more than 2,300 visa applications by doctors looking to work in the UK have been refused in the past five months.

Labour said the announcement was a “welcome U-turn”, and NHS bosses said it would be a “huge relief” to health trusts.

So-called Tier 2 visas are used by employers to bring skilled workers to the UK from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

Since 2011, there has been a cap on the number of these visas that can be issued. Until December 2017, it had only been exceeded once, in June 2015, but recently it has been hit for several months in a row.

The government said this was mostly driven by demand for NHS workers which make up 40% of all Tier 2 places.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “We are delighted with this solution which will enable our NHS organisations to recruit the doctors they urgently need.

“This is the outcome of months of constructive discussions between the NHS, other sectors and government officials.”

New Immigration Rules will be laid before Parliament tomorrow.

Bookmark and Share

Post a Comment

Enter this security code

Submit Comment for Moderation