To point out that up to 1,000 newly qualified GPs could face deportation from the country when their visas expire next year amounts to “unnecessary alarmism”, the government says.
The number, first revealed in a Pulse article in April this year, is based on data from Health Education England which indicates that around 1,000 trainees are in the country on visas which expire by the end March next year.
At the time, the Home Office told Pulse it was working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to try to increase the number of GP practices with licenses to sponsor doctors. newly qualified trainees.
However, after the story was dragged into the mirror and Mail over the weekend, a government spokesman said: ‘This is unnecessary alarmism’. Foreign workers make an invaluable contribution to our NHS, helping to keep vital services running and saving lives.
“Trainee GPs can use the time between the end of their training and the end of their visa to seek and apply for a job.”
Foreign doctors must work under the Skilled Worker visa program for at least five years before they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Stay (ILTR) and this time frame covers most specialist medical training.
But GPs usually get their Certificate of Completion (CCT) after three years, leaving a two-year gap in which they must get sponsorship if they want to stay in the country when their visas run out. .
NHS England expected to be allowed to sponsor doctors over the two-year period but could not reach an agreement with the Home Office – an outcome which has been condemned by GP representative organizations , in particular the BMA and the BAPIO.
And, last week, the RCGP warned MPs that newly qualified GPs were receiving ‘deportation’ letters shortly after completing their medical training.
But the Home Office explained that ‘deportation’ was incorrect as it is a term applied to the removal of foreign offenders.
Those whose leave expires could be ‘expelled’ rather than ‘deported’ from the UK.
He has no plans to reduce the five-year qualification period for settling in the UK before which GPs and other skilled workers can apply to settle permanently, he said .
Health Education England and NHS England are also matching candidates who have completed their course with vacancies.
DAUK also stated that he was “putting in place a resource for IMG GPs facing visa issues to connect them with GP practices looking to recruit GPs.
Become a sponsor for overseas GPs
- The current sponsor license application process takes approximately eight weeks.
- There is also a priority service, which allows some sponsors to get a decision within 10 working days for an additional £500.
- Once a GP practice has obtained a sponsor licence, it will last for four years before needing to be renewed.
- NHS England will reimburse all health and social care worker visa costs for the GP and their dependents if they remain in England to practice after qualification.
Source: Home office and NHS England