Doctors and nurses to be taken out of Tier 2 visa cap

The NHS is facing a staffing crisis and Mr Javid is set to try to stop a drain of staff before and after Brexit

The NHS is facing a staffing crisis and Mr Javid is set to try to stop a drain of staff before and after Brexit

As well as providing a boost to the NHS, it will also free up hundreds of additional places a month within the cap for other highly skilled occupations, such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers.

Doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on so-called "Tier 2" visas for skilled workers from non-EU countries, imposed by Theresa May when she was home secretary.

Home secretary Sajid Javid said: "I recognise the pressures faced by the NHS and other sectors in recent months".

Such workers will be exempt from the cap on Tier 2 visas, which has been exceeded for six consecutive months.

"That is why it is extremely welcome", he added, "that the PM has announced that doctors and nurses will be removed from tier 2 camps which means that the NHS will be able to recruit the number of doctors and nurses they need from overseas". That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. But NHS England has said that more than thirty thousand nurse vacancies and ten thousand doctors' posts are unfilled.

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

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

May wants net migration to fall to 100,000 a year - this is the difference between people leaving the country and coming in.

He has also reportedly proposed a universal immigration system that does not favour European Union nationals after Brexit.

The visa limit has been set at 20,700 a year since 2011, with around 40 per cent of places accounted for by the NHS.

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

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

'Recruiting GPs from overseas will not solve the workforce crisis and we are committed to training more GPs in the United Kingdom - but it takes at least 10 years to train a GP, and lifting the cap on Tier 2 visas is a very positive step in addressing the workforce pressures facing general practice in the shorter term'.

"A substantial number of refusals appear to be predicated on nothing more than the individual making an honest mistake - and as far as HMRC are concerned, when the correction has been made, the case is closed".

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