New immigration rules in UK for international medical graduates

The UK Home Office has laid immigration rules that will restrict international medical graduates’ (IMGs) access to UK post graduate medical training. The new rules start to take effect from 29 February 2008. New immigration rules were welcomed by the UK Health Secretary Alan Johnson.

These are temporary changes to the immigration rules. The UK Department of Health is considering longer-term solutions that will ensure the policy of self-sufficiency is achieved. Most international medical graduates who come to work or train in the NHS do not stay very long – over half leave within four years of joining the NHS. Ultimately, the NHS loses the trained GPs and consultants it needs when IMGs leave.

New immigration rules will not impact on recruitment until 2009 and will prohibit the following people from accessing post graduate medical training posts:

From 29 February

? Migrants from overseas who are applying to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)

? Migrants already in the UK who are applying to switch to Tier 1 (General)

From 1 April 2008

? Migrants in India who are applying for entry clearance as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant.

The following people will be exempt from the regulations:

? Those who currently have leave to remain in the UK as a Highly Skilled Migrant

? Postgraduate doctors or dentists who are seeking leave to remain as a Tier 1 (General) Migrant.

These changes to the immigration rules are expected to reduce the potential pool of new migrant applicants by between 3,000 to 5,000 in 2009.

Tier 1 (General) of the Points-Based system is coming into effect in India on 1 April and will be rolled out worldwide by the end of the summer. It will be replacing the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. By placing a condition on new migrants in the HSMP from February 29th UK is ensuring that IMGs from India are not being disadvantaged.

Source: Department of Health, UK, UK


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