Dr A had been working as Clinical Fellow in Ophthalmology since 2017 and had recently been offered an NHS locum consultant post in Ophthalmology. Owing to ambiguous application guidance on the Home Office webpage Dr A mistakenly filed a ‘new application’ for a Tier 2 visa on the instead of a ‘change of employment’ application. Dr A did so whilst in the UK and on an active visa which was valid until the 14th of November.
In order to fulfil the criteria for biometrics for new applications which must be completed outside of the UK he travelled abroad in August 2019. He planned to return to the UK and start his new job as soon as the visa had been approved but on 18th September whilst still abroad, he received email notification that he had been refused a Tier 2 Visa. Owing to a breach of Home Office service standards having waited over 15 days for a decision, more than 4 weeks had elapsed without him being physically present in the UK, causing his current visa to lapse. This has led to the disastrous situation where DrA has been left with no right to re-enter the UK and remains stranded whilst all his personal belongings and his home remain in the UK.
DAUK has intervened on behalf fo Dr A, a DAUK member, and has written to the Home Office. DAUK has also written to the Health Secretary who last week intervened in a similar case DAUK supported of a GP trainee threatened with deportation.
Responding to the Home Office decision to deny Dr A a visa, DAUK Chair Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden said:
“At a time when 43% of advertised consultant posts go infilled in the NHS it defies belief that a dedicated consultant is currently stranded overseas due to an error made on a visa application form. Dr A’s case highlights how unwieldy and frankly inhumane our immigration process is and does little to recognise his service to the NHS. We very much rely on our international workforce and the Home Office must get to grips with the fact that we simply cannot afford to lose a single doctor.”
Dr Rinesh Parmar, DAUK’s Vice-Chair said:
“At a time when the NHS is short of doctors and waiting times for patients are growing it beggars belief that an NHS doctor, about to take up a Consultant post is prevented from doing so. Ambiguity in the visa application process and response of the Home Office in such cases demonstrates that a hostile environment still persists.”