Published: Sat, June 16, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

UK to ease visa cap blocking Indian doctors

UK to ease visa cap blocking Indian doctors

This comes after the home secretary said last week that he would take a "fresh look" at the visa rules that cap the number of overseas doctors allowed to work in the NHS.

The number of Tier 2 visas granted to skilled workers outside the EEA and Swizerland is limited to 20,700 people a year.

Health service, which for decades relied on the ability to hire experts from overseas, now has tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies. According to the Telegraph, Javid has warned Prime Minister Theresa May in a letter that increased recruitment of doctors from outside the European Union has led to a shortage of skilled migrants in other sectors and to the cap being breached in every month since December.

On Friday, the Home Office is expected to confirm that foreign doctors and nurses will be excluded from the government's visa cap.

A spokesman for Mrs May said visa routes were "always under review", following Mr Javid's comments on BBC's Andrew Marr Show. "The net migration target regime just isn't working and should be replaced - including by removing students from the target straight away".

"We remain absolutely committed to bringing it down to sustainable levels".

The removal of doctors and nurses from the Tier Two total will have the knock-on effect of freeing up hundreds of places each month for other professions, including engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

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Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, stated on the organisation's website that this move is a "fantastic and much-needed victory for common sense".

Earlier this month, family doctors had also urged Javid to lift the cap warning of a "desperate need" to ease pressures amid escalating patient demand.

The British Medical Journal has said that between December 2017 and March 2018 more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the United Kingdom were refused as a result of the cap on workers from outside the European Economic Area.

"Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the UK".

It will represent Mr Javid's first major migration policy.

He said "Once we increase doctor training places we are able to make the argument that in the period between now and when those training places convert into fully-trained clinicians, the government should be flexible on visas". But May, weakened by Tory infighting over Brexit, has had to give way over non-EU doctors because she realised it would not be politically helpful to have patients' lives endangered by Right wing immigration dogma.

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