UK to relax immigration rules for non EU expat medical professionals

Published:  18 Jun at 6 PM
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The British government is planning exemptions of non EU doctors and nurses from the annual immigration numbers cap.

According to UK immigration lawyers, the British government is about to exempt doctors and nurses from non- European Union countries from the annual cap on expat professionals. The cap, at present at 20,700, was divided into monthly allocations following its inception in 2011 and covers non-EU skilled workers applying for Tier 2 visas. Until late last year, the cap had been exceeded just once in June 2015. Subsequently, it’s been exceeded on a monthly basis, making it almost impossible for employers with skill shortages to import highly-skilled immigrants.

Recent statistics show 6,000 rejected applicants over a period of five months and include 2,360 applications from doctors with job offers. At the same time, the NHS is haemorrhaging qualified medical staff from EU member states as Brexit uncertainly begins to bite. NHS officials have warned the Home Office the immigration cap is wrecking their urgent efforts to replace those leaving with medical professionals from outside the EU bloc. If activated, the proposed lifting of the cap for non-EU doctors and nurses would mean highly skilled staff from overseas would be allowed onto hospital wards desperately in need of higher standards of patient care.

In addition, the exemption from the cap could also be applied to other sectors such as IT and engineering, thus boosting the UK’s economy. It’s believed the exodus of EU national skilled workers will accelerate as Brexit looms nearer and no absolute guarantees are given as to their rights to free movement as well as the right to bring their families into the UK without excessive cost. Many European professionals have based their decision to return home on increasing prejudice against foreign workers in addition to uncertainty as regards their legal status post March next year.
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