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BMA welcomes review of visa system

Tier 2 visa quotas have denied one thousand doctors entry to the UK

Mark Gould

Monday, 04 June 2018

The BMA and NHS managers have welcomed reports that Downing Street is set to revise key parts of the UK immigration policy which have denied more than a thousand doctors entry to the country.

Speaking on BBC TV's Andrew Marr Show, Mr Javid was asked about the so-called Tier 2 visa system introduced by prime minister Theresa May when she was home secretary, as a means of capping the number of skilled workers from outside the European Union who had a job offer. An annual 20,700 cap has led to thousands of NHS staff being denied visas.

"I see the problem with that," Mr Javid said. "It is something that I'm taking a fresh look at. I know a number of my colleagues certainly want me to take a look at this, and that's exactly what I'm doing. And I hope to think about this more carefully and see what can be done."

Responding to the comments BMA council chair, 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, also welcomed the comments.

“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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