Doctors who have been offered positions in British hospitals are being turned away due to the monthly quotes for UK visas for skilled workers.
According to Home Office figures, skilled worker visas have been over subscribed for the past two months, leading to officials to reject any foreign doctors who do not skilled in specialisms with a shortage or earning at least £55,000. This threshold has been increased from the usual threshold of £30,000, preventing many middle-level doctors from reaching the salary cap.
Hospitals in both Cambridge and Birmingham have revealed that they have failed to secure doctors from outside the European Economic Area even though they’re suffering local shortages on their wards.
When the figures were released, at least 20 doctors had already been prevented from taking up new roles in NHS departments including intensive care.
“It is simply lunatic,” said one consultant involved. “It is important to note that salaries haven’t changed and they are competitive. What’s changed is the Home Office’s threshold for granting visas.”
Andrew Johnston, intensive care consultant at Cambridge University Hospitals, agreed, suggesting that the new threshold seems “arbitrary”.
“There has always been quite a lot of overseas staff and it used to be that we would get them the EU, from places like Greece and Spain. That seems to have dried up now and the result is we are more reliant on overseas.”