United Kingdom to relax immigration rules for non-EU doctors and nurses

Sajid Javid

The cap was introduced as part of the Conservative government's plans to curb immigration, when May was the home secretary in 2011.

Home secretary Sajid Javid, who promised to put in place a fairer immigration system instead of what is called the policy of "hostile environment", said: "I recognise the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months".

Prime Minister Theresa May's government said doctors and nurses working in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) would be excluded from an annual cap on skilled workers from outside the European Union.

Although the proposed change will only apply to doctors and nurses, it would free up visas for workers from other industries.

"We remain absolutely committed to bringing it down to sustainable levels".

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BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'It will be a relief to patients and staff across the NHS that common sense has finally prevailed and the Tier-2 visa restrictions on non-EU doctors and nurses are to be lifted. That is not good for continuity of care for patients, or for trusts' finances.

Earlier this month, chairwoman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard urged Javid to relax immigration rules, warning there were concerning cases where foreign Global Positioning System had been affected by the "hostile environment" policies first brought in by May.

The British Medical Journal has said that between December 2017 and March 2018 more than 1,500 visa applications from doctors with job offers in the United Kingdom were refused as a result of the cap on workers from outside the European Economic Area.

"The NHS, general practice included, has always been supported by the skills and hard work of doctors and other healthcare professionals from overseas". That net target is set at the tens, rather than the hundreds, of thousands.

The Home Office added that Mr Javid is expected to lay changes to the tier 2 visa cap before Parliament tomorrow.

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The move is expected to be announced by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Friday as part of a drive to let in more highly-skilled migrants in the run up to Brexit.

To that effect, on Wednesday the government announced a new "start-up" visa for technology entrepreneurs, which will replace a visa route that was previously only open to graduates.

He has also reportedly proposed a universal immigration system that does not favour European Union nationals after Brexit.

He said "Once we increase doctor training places we are able to make the argument that in the period between now and when those training places convert into fully-trained clinicians, the government should be flexible on visas".

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