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UK immigration rules to be waived to bring in more doctors

Published on 14/06/18 at 09:51am

The NHS’ recruitment crisis has been on-going for a number of years, with an ageing population and a higher workload meaning that service struggles to retain and recruit more staff.

One of the major barriers that has prevented the NHS being able to go some way in plugging workforce gaps is the current regulation capping non-EU skilled workers to just 20,700 people per year.

The Government introduced the cap in an attempt to meet the self-imposed target of reducing immigration to below 100,000.

In recent times, however, the Government’s policy of creating a ‘hostile environment’ towards immigrants, particularly in the case of the “Windrush generation”, has created a huge public backlash.

It is now looking to backtrack on some of its policies, in this case in regards to the amount of non-EU doctors and nurses that will be allowed to enter the UK.

There are discussions for a waiver to be applied to potential staff for the NHS. The Financial Times reported that 2,360 applications were refused in five months due to the cap – despite the NHS being short of 42,000 nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, as well as needing to recruit a further 10,000 doctors.

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said: “We welcome a government review of the tier 2 visa system. 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.”

By exempting staff headed to work in the NHS from the immigration cap, it would thereby free up space for workers to enter the UK for other industries.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, had said that around a third of all tier 2 visas go to doctors and nurses that enter the NHS.

Ben Hargreaves

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