- In response to a debate called in Westminster Hall on Wednesday 2nd November, the Home Office agreed to look at how restrictions can be eased on international GPs working for the NHS.
• To deliver on this mission, the Minister for Immigration pledged to focus on ‘creative ways to resolve this challenge’, for example working with the sector to explore umbrella sponsors for international GPs and holding meetings with the sector to encourage more GP surgeries to become visa sponsoring practices.
On Wednesday (2nd November), a Westminster Hall debate took place in which the House
considered visas for international doctors.
Matt Warman MP raised the point that under current legislation, GPs who have come from abroad to train in the UK are in a position whereby it is difficult to obtain employment after they graduate. This is mainly because, in order for a General Practice to hire an international graduate, they must be registered as a ‘sponsoring practice’. This requires a large amount of complicated engagement with the Home Office, both on the international GP’s behalf and that of the practice hoping to sponsor them.
Following a discussion of members from different parties, the Minister for Immigration, Robert
Jenrick MP, acknowledged the issues raised and agreed to look at ways to make this process easier. The Minister assured that the Home Office will ‘reflect carefully on the points raised’ and stated that he will ‘task Home Office officials to work with stakeholders in the sector to give greater consideration to the central question of whether there is a simpler way in which GP practices can apply for relevant visas.’
The Minister for Immigration also pledged to ‘ask my officials to work with the sector to see whether there is a way forward to create umbrella bodies, if there is mutual support on both sides’, as well as agreeing to run further engagement events with the sector to discuss the process of becoming a sponsor.
Commenting on the positive outcome of this debate, Matt Warman said: ‘The Minister has
demonstrated more progress on this important issue in the commitment that he has made to us
today than we have seen in some years … I am immensely grateful to all Members who have brought the issue to life, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Minister on the outcome of the review, which will make a real difference to our constituents, and to doctors up and down the country.’
Matt will continue to liaise with the Home Office, the NHS and the Royal Colleges in order to turn this promise into action as quickly as possible.