UK lifts immigration cap for medical workers amid shortages


In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, Javid said he "saw the problem" with the cap that sets a limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 people a year.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chairman, said: "Overseas doctors make an invaluable contribution to our health service and, at a time when there are thousands of unfilled vacancies within the NHS, it is absurd that the Government should stop experienced and talented healthcare professionals coming to work here and provide much-needed care for patients".

Medics will reportedly be excluded from the "tier two" visa cap, which now stands at 20,700 issued a year, with immediate effect. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route.

Earlier this month, family doctors had also urged Javid to lift the cap warning of a "desperate need" to ease pressures amid escalating patient demand.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said Thursday's announcement would be a "much-needed victory for common sense and patient care".

He said he would take "think more carefully" about the cap on the number of skilled workers given visas.

Javid reportedly told May in a letter that while he hasn't changed his position on net migration and ultimately wants the train more of its own doctors, relaxing the rules is necessary to deal with a short-term crisis in the National Health Service and the flow-on effects onto other sectors.

Although the proposed change will only apply to doctors and nurses, it would free up visas for workers from other industries.

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The cap, introduced by May when she was interior minister, is now set at 20,700 non-EU skilled workers per year.

The move would represent Mr Javid's first significant migration policy and a softening of Prime Minister Theresa May's hostility to calls to raise the cap.

Health service, which for decades relied on the ability to hire experts from overseas, now has tens of thousands of unfilled vacancies.

"We await a full announcement from the Home Secretary tomorrow and will be scrutinising the details very carefully".

Sunder Katwala, director of the immigration think-tank British Future, said removing medical personnel from the visa cap would be a "sensible move".

Immigration rules capping the number of foreign medics working in the United Kingdom will be relaxed to allow the NHS to recruit more staff.

Whether Javid will prove to be a new broom at the home office remains to be seen.