Last week, The Home Office announced that it would be excluding doctors and nurses from the Tier 2 visa quota; the system that limits the number of skilled workers taking jobs in the UK from outside Europe.
The annual quota currently allows a total of 20,700 workers into the country. However, removing National Health Service (NHS) medics from this total will free up thousands of opportunities for private industry and educational bodies to hire the talent they need outside of Europe.
Outlined in new immigration rules presented to Parliament on 15th June; The Home Office stressed that “up to 40 per cent of Tier 2 visa places were currently taken up by NHS doctors and nurses.” Since December, over 10,000 overseas professionals have been prevented from taking up job offers in the UK because the monthly cap has been reached.
These new regulations will not just boost the NHS. But, it will free up hundreds of additional spaces a month within the monthly Tier 2 cap for other highly skilled occupations i.e. engineers; IT professionals and teachers.
Following the announcement, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I recognise the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months”. Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the UK. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. This is about finding a solution to increased demand and to support our essential national services.”
It is hoped that removing healthcare jobs will mean that employers do not face such stiff competition every month when recruiting for the other sectors. While employers will still need to navigate the current complex system; this reform is a positive step and means non-NHS employers have a good chance at finding badly-needed talent.
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