Home Office confirms plans to lift doctor immigration cap


The proposed changes will affect the Tier 2 visas, which are used by skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.

NHS doctors and nurses will be excluded from restrictions to the number of visas granted to skilled non-EU migrant workers, the Home Office has confirmed.

Immigration rules capping the number of foreign medics working in the United Kingdom are reportedly going to be eased to allow the NHS to recruit more staff.

Indian doctors could soon be eligible to apply for work with Britain's National Health Service because some of the curbs on immigration are being eased by the new home secretary, Sajid Javid.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, stated on the organisation's website that this move is a "fantastic and much-needed victory for common sense".

Earlier in the month, Practice Business reported on home secretary Sajid Javid's BBC interview, in which he said he hoped to review the immigration policy with regard to the tier 2 visa cap restricting global doctors from working in the UK.

Javid reportedly told May in a letter that while he hasn't changed his position on net migration and ultimately wants the U.K.to train more of its own doctors, relaxing the rules is necessary to deal with a short-term crisis in the National Health Service and the flow-on effects onto other sectors.

Sajid Javid
Image Sajid Javid is expected to announce the change on Friday

The Home Office said around 40% of Tier 2 visas were granted to the NHS staff.

"But perhaps this is a sign that Home Secretary Sajid Javid is willing to take a bolder and more flexible approach to immigration, and deliver the kind of system that Britain will need after we leave the European Union".

The Telegraph reported that a number of Cabinet ministers joined Mr Javid to convince the Prime Minister to remove medical staff from tier 2.

As well as providing a boost to the NHS, it will also free up hundreds of additional places a month within the cap for other highly skilled occupations, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

Sunder Katwala, director of the immigration think-tank British Future, described the expected announcement as a "sensible move". But NHS England has said that more than thirty thousand nurse vacancies and ten thousand doctors' posts are unfilled.

Meanwhile, MPs have attacked the Home Office for threatening to deport migrant workers for making amendments to their tax records.