UK tier 2 visa for foreign NHS workers was backed by Jeremy Hunt

Something similar to the new UK tier 2 visa concession for doctors and nurses coming to work for the NHS previously had the backing of Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The MP for South West Surrey had previously presented a short-term initiative for shortage healthcare workers to Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. 

For many months from December 2017 to June 2018 employers with a tier 2 sponsorship licence have been refused tier 2 restricted CoSs to employ people who need to apply from outside the UK, because the salary has not been high enough.  The situation is much better now.

Sanwar Ali workpermit.com comment:

For seven months until June 2018, due to the salary requirements, many restricted CoS applications to bring in tier 2 visa skilled overseas workers based outside the UK had been refused.

The changes that have occurred recently to the tier 2 visa scheme had the backing of a number of Government ministers. It seems that Theresa May the Prime Minister had previously blocked plans for a relaxation of tier 2 visa requirements for health care workers. Eventually, with all the bad publicity over shortages of doctors and nurses in UK hospitals the Government changed the law from 6 July 2018.

Thanks to doctors and nurses no longer coming under the quota, in July 2018 the salary requirement to gain enough points for a restricted CoS has gone down considerably. As the backlog of applications start to clear, we think that in August 2018 it will go down further. We think there is a good chance that the current system will continue for some time and the availability of restricted certifications of sponsorship should continue to improve.

The special UK visa programme would have been accessible to foreign doctors, nurses and other medical professionals that are in short supply across the NHS. Something similar to what Hunt had suggested to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has now happened.

In the aftermath of the Windrush scandal, which saw British citizens who arrived in the UK from Commonwealth countries threatened by the government with deportation, the Health and Social Care Secretary said that a short-term healthcare visa scheme would be ‘helpful.’

Stick to public desire over UK visa policies

While Hunt insisted that it’s important to ‘remain true to the desire of the British public to have controlled immigration policies,’ he said the government acknowledges that the NHS will have to import healthcare workers for the foreseeable future.

In an interview with the Health Service Journal, Mr Hunt was asked if a dedicated healthcare worker visa would be a solution. He responded: “I think it is a really interesting idea, and it’s something I should probably raise with the new Home Secretary.”

“The government and the country’s view is a recognition that healthcare workers will need to be recruited from overseas. We acknowledge that the public want this to be a short-term strategy while the government aims to boost training numbers internally, which is something we’re well on the way to doing,” Mr Hunt added.

Mr Hunt reiterated the government’s desire to stick to the wishes of the British public concerning controlled UK immigration policies, and mentioned a discussion with what was then the new Home Secretary about a special UK visa for foreign healthcare professionals.

Relaxed UK visa rules for health workers previously vetoed

The Health and Social Care Secretary’s support for a special UK visa for healthcare workers comes amid reports that Prime Minister, Theresa May, personally vetoed requests made by the Department of Health and Social Care to relax UK immigration rules for foreign health professionals.

As a result of a controversial Tier 2 visa cap, hundreds of Indian doctors hired by the NHS from December 2017 to June 2018 had been unable to commence their employment because the Home Office denied the restricted CoS applications. For the past five months, Tier 2 visa applications have exceeded the number of work permits available.

Priority has been given to PhD level occupations and those featured on the UK Shortage Occupation List. In many cases, employers with Tier 2 sponsorship licences are having to pay a salary of at least £50,000 a year to recruit skilled workers on Tier 2 visas based outside the UK.

Watchdogs had warned that many more visa applicants are being tied up in red tape by the Home Office. Deeper problems within the Home Office, and its controversial strategies, recently came to light amid the Windrush scandal, a debacle that has somewhat softened the British public’s attitudes towards immigrants.

The fallout over the Windrush scandal resulted in the resignation of Mr Javid’s predecessor, Amber Rudd, after she deliberately misled MPs when quizzed about deportation targets set by the Home Office for illegal immigrants. She initially denied that such targets existed, until leaked memos contradicted her story.

Workpermit.com can help Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, workpermit.com can help.

More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com