The British Medical Association [BMA] has asked the UK Government to ease visa requirements for overseas doctors in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The BMA has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel for taking certain urgent measures in this regard.
These measures include the ability to easily switch between different visa categories.
Also, automatic Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] or UK permanent residency is being sought by the BMA for international medical professionals.
As per their official website, the BMA is “the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK”.
Visa concessions and relaxations for qualified overseas doctors will benefit many medical professionals from India as well. Qualified medical professionals from abroad are required for supporting the UK’s National Health Services [NHS] in view of COVID-19.
In addition to seeking ILR for the doctors, the BMA has also emphasized the need for confirmation of the residency status of the dependents of those international doctors that die while working with the NHS in battling COVID-19.
The BMA has also called for a special dispensation for all health care workers and international medical students for switching sponsors automatically without the requirement to apply for another visa. The BHA has also reiterated ongoing calls for such professionals to get an immigration health surcharge waiver.
Last month, the UK government had confirmed that foreign doctors – including those from India – that have visas set to expire before October 2020 will get an automatic extension. The extension will be for 1 year, free of charge. This has been done in view of COVID-19 crisis.
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