Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said that the Government’s decision to let more doctors and nurses work in the NHS was only temporary. This has raised concern that the UK Govt. may reverse the relaxation in visa rules. There is a high possibility that the restriction on immigration numbers may once again be imposed.
Javid had written to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of UK. He said that removing doctors and nurses from the cap of Tier 2 Work Visa was temporary. He also said that he plans to keep the exclusion under review.
The number of Visa applications for the Tier 2 Work Visa was far higher than the yearly cap of 20,700. In June 2018, however, nurses and doctors were excluded after a strong campaign by medical groups and NHS. The relaxation in Visa rules was made to address the increasing workforce crisis in the NHS.
Senior doctors have voiced concerns that the move could be ill-judged and aggravate the shortage of medics for the NHS.
According to The Guardian, Javid has also asked the MAC to review the SOL (Shortage Occupation List). He also said that the cap for the Tier 2 general has been under pressure since December last year. This has resulted in a number of occupations being denied places.
The SOL exempts employers in the UK from the need to advertise some jobs to the local job market. When the Tier 2 cap gets close to its annual quota, this ensures that these occupations receive priority over others.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care Secretary, however, has not welcomed the move to limit the number of medics. Recruiting and retaining staff for the NHS has been an ongoing problem.
There are almost 10,000 vacancies in the NHS. The biggest problem has been that they do not have enough locals wanting to work for it. Hence, in June, the decision to exclude doctors and nurses from the yearly cap of Tier 2 Work Visas was taken. This led to hundreds of places being freed monthly for other skilled professions.
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