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UK to Relax Rules for NHS Recruitment

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The move will benefit hundreds of Indian doctors. Some reports said over 3000 Indian doctors were denied Tier 2 visa to take jobs at NHS hospitals in the country.  NHS England had 35,000 nurse vacancies and nearly 10,000 doctor posts unfilled in February….reports Asian Lite News

As the NHS hospital trusts across the country under strain over doctors and other medical staff, the government has decided to relax immigration rules to allow more non-EU skilled workers into the UK.

The move will benefit hundreds of Indian doctors. Some reports said over 3000 Indian doctors were denied Tier 2 visa to take jobs at NHS hospitals in the country.  NHS England had 35,000 nurse vacancies and nearly 10,000 doctor posts unfilled in February.

The Home Office is expected to confirm that foreign doctors and nurses will be excluded from the government’s visa cap. The cap was introduced by Theresa May when she was home secretary – sets a limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 people a year.

The proposed changes relate to so-called Tier 2 visas – which are used by skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

The Financial Times reported that 2,360 visa applications by doctors from outside the European Economic Area were refused in a five-month period, apparently because of the cap. And in April, NHS bosses warned that immigration rules were hampering their ability to find workers after visas for 100 Indian doctors were refused.

According to think tank Global Future, 12.5% of NHS England’s staff are from overseas. That number rises to 45% in certain specialities including paediatric cardiologists and neurosurgeons. The current annual cap on these visas has also led to over 1,000 IT specialists and engineers being denied visas.

The proposed change would only apply to doctors and nurses – but could free up thousands of visas for workers in other industries like IT and teaching, even if the 20,700 total didn’t change.