Urgent action is needed from the Home Secretary to ensure hundreds of doctors do not lose their jobs
The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) welcomes the news of the Home Office relaxing its immigration restrictions on doctors applying for tier 2 visas. We believe this is long overdue and look forward keenly to the specifics of how these changes are to be implemented. However, we are concerned that it has taken this length of time to announce a change in policy, given that caps have been hit for many months now and the NHS is facing widespread vacancies, numbering some 10,000 for doctors.
Approximately 2300 visa applications for doctors were refused between November 2017 and April this year, amongst which were many rejections for those who had already successfully applied for or commenced specialty training. Each of these refusals carries a personal cost, placing the careers of many such doctors in jeopardy and causing undue strain on their personal lives.
Since commencing the #Scrapthecap campaign, DAUK has lobbied the Prime Minister, the Home and the Health Secretaries, calling for the removal of caps on the number of tier 2 visas allocated to doctors working in the NHS. Our petition (1) has gained some 7300 signatories including health professionals and members of the public. We have also personally lobbied on behalf many doctors affected by the visa cap, including Dr. Nnaemeka Chidumije (2), an NHS surgeon whose case highlighted the indignity and personal impact of the policy. It has been our primary objective that the NHS not be starved of desperately needed, qualified professionals who are ready to work and train and fill vacant posts as soon as possible.
We hope that the government’s sea change with regards to reversing this policy is sustained and will only declare a concrete victory when those professionals who have been affected by it take up the jobs they successfully applied for. Those doctors who have successfully applied for specialty training are due start in August and are at real risk of losing their posts should their visas not be granted in this month’s allocation. Urgent action needs to be taken the Home Secretary to ensure hundreds of doctors do not lose their jobs.
Editor: Dr Neil Tiwari
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. DAUK’s Scrap the Cap petition was sent on Wednesday 13th June and can be found here:
2. Dr. Nnaemeka Chidumije is an NHS surgeon who had been working in the UK since 2013. On separating from his British wife he was advised by the Home Office to return to his home country of Nigeria to switch from a spousal visa to a tier 2 visa. His application, sponsored by Health Education England has been refused four times. He remains in Nigeria. DAUK wrote to the Home Secretary on Nnaemeka’s behalf, a letter signed by 850 doctors. DAUK have also asked Theresa May to intervene.