Hospital Dr News

Home Secretary to reconsider the cap on overseas doctors’ work visas

The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid is “taking a fresh look” at the cap on visas for skilled migrants.

The cap has resulted in more than 1,500 doctors having visa applications to enter the UK blocked this year.

This comes at a time when the NHS is suffering significant workforce shortages.

Theresa May has been under intense pressure to loosen the restrictions, including from the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, after quotas for so-called tier 2 visas began to bite in recent months.

Javid used an interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show to distance himself from key aspects of her immigration policy – including the tier 2 cap.

“A number of my colleagues have asked me to look at this and it’s exactly what I’m doing,” Javid said, when asked about reports of doctors’ visa applications being turned down.

The BMA’s Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said: “We welcome the Home Secretary’s announcement to review Tier 2 visa allocations, further to extensive lobbying from the BMA and other bodies to end arbitrary visa caps which are preventing competent overseas doctors from working in an overstretched NHS with a serious shortage of medical staff.

“It is important that the Home Secretary now acts swiftly with a practical solution, so that the NHS can recruit the several hundreds of available overseas doctors who can start work imminently to ease pressure in a health service under escalating strain.

“The NHS could not survive without the vital contribution of overseas doctors, and it is vital that the government puts the needs of patients first by implementing a flexible immigration policy that allows us to employ the doctors needed to serve the health needs of the nation”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, added: “Many of our employers could not again get certificates of sponsorship for doctors during May. It is now six months since we first started having problems, along with other sectors.

“The NHS is fast approaching the major August intake and changeover period for many doctors in training.

“A speedy, effective solution is urgently needed to clear the backlog, account for any increase in applications linked to the August changeover and provide a sustainable approach to the management of the system.”

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