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May 8, 2006
UK Overseas Doctors, in Trouble with the New Visa Policy
- Maria Theresa Samante Email this article

The United Kingdom is now requiring foreign doctors to obtain work permit visa instead of Permit Free training for any post they apply. This new visa policy of UK Government will take effect starting July 2006.


This new visa policy brings trouble to overseas doctors in UK. In fact, last April 21, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) with the coordination of Consultant Pediatrician from London, Dr. Satheesh Mathew, leads the International Medical Graduates (IMGs) a peaceful and democratic protest. The protest was done in front of UK's Department of Health. The said protest is to show that they are against the new policy. The overseas doctors association and the United Kingdom Association of International Doctors (UKAID) also show their participation in the march.


"Here were people who had come here believing the health service was a fair organisation and believing they would have equal rights and opportunities and being told now that was no longer the case and large numbers of them will have to go back home," said Peter Trewby, who leads on the issue for the Royal College of Physicians, also attended the demonstration.


Though doctors were able to train in Foundation Programmes in Senior House Officer and equivalent grades and in Specialist Registrar and equivalent grades, they will not be considered for employment in UK. Instead, all hospitals will prefer to employ UK/EU applicants and not non-EU doctors although overseas doctors acquire equal of better knowledge than UK/EU candidates.  


Those are not in favor of the policy said that the policy was announced without any consultation or grace period and that leaves thousands of IMGs in helpless situation.


In many areas in the UK, paediatric services have depended on these doctors and we have a duty to be fair to them. Many face uncertain futures at short notice," said Patricia Hamilton, new president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health.


The implication of the said new policy would really bring trouble to overseas doctors.

New doctors who want to come in UK and have spent much time and money will just find out that their career is ruined. Doctors who are already in UK will have to stop in the midst of their training and just go back or try for non-training posts, without progress in their career.


While for those who are about to finish their training will find out that their training and skills no longer matter in job selection.


Overseas Doctors and IMGs have contributed to the National Health Service (NHS) in UK since the beginning. They filled a hard felt need for skilled doctors to provide the British public with quality health care. The UK had promised quality training and Equal Opportunities in job selection. But because of this policy, the UK's Equal Opportunities policy comes to an end.



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