No ban on overseas doctors despite shortage of positions in NHS

Overseas doctors should not be banned from applying to work in the NHS, although there are not enough positions for UK medical graduates, according to NHS Employers.

Thirty thousand junior doctors started work last week, with about 70% of UK medical graduates who applied accepting a post. But about 13,000 junior doctors are still looking for posts, and one-quarter of these are home-grown graduates.

In its evidence to the inquiry on this year’s recruitment process, which has been plagued by problems, NHS Employers said the decision to include overseas doctors in the cohort of applicants for speciality training was “felt by employers to be the right one at the time”.

The ratio of UK graduates being offered jobs is not good enough to exclude highly skilled migrants from applying next year, NHS Employers said. But the government could raise the bar on lang­uage tests for doctors as a way of managing applicants in the future, it added.

Meanwhile, the Home Office has been accused by campaigners of wasting thousands of pounds unsuccessfully fighting appeals by skilled migrants ordered to leave the country.

Controversial changes to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) forced visa-holders to re-apply for the right to work and live in the UK. Campaign group HSMP Forum said it is winning nine out of 10 appeals on human rights grounds.

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