Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to lift the UK visa cap on doctors entering Britain from outside the European Union.
Following recent reports that the NHS is struggling with staff shortages, reports have revealed that the Prime Minister has reversed her decision to block plans for relaxed visa rules for doctors, and is now preparing to lift the cap in order to meet the needs of the NHS.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Home Secretary Sajid Javid are expected to be in favour of the move, which will allow for doctors and nurses to be temporarily removed from the UK visa cap until more medical professionals can be trained in Britain.
More pressure was also put on May after NHS trusts revealed they had 93,000 vacancies, with the Royal College of Physicians confirming that there could be “serious consequences” should waiting list for patients grow any longer.
Commenting on the staff shortage, chairwoman of the Commons health committee Dr Sarah Woolaston stressed the importance of a change in UK visa laws, even if it is temporary.
“The visa cap for doctors makes no sense at all and it acts against the best interests of patients,” the former GP said. “It should be lifted immediately and in a way that does not disadvantage other skilled groups such as scientists.
“Our immigration policy should be designed to benefit the UK, not leave science, healthcare and industry with a shortfall of vital skilled workforce.”
There is currently an annual quota of 20,7000 Tier 2 work permits for people from outside the EU for job vacancies in Britain that cannot be filled by the country’s residents. However, the monthly limit has been met for the past five months, leaving thousands of posts without workers.