In a land mark ruling, the British Government has withdrawn the 'discriminatory clause' applicable for International Doctors under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. This means that the promises made to International Doctors on HSMP will be honored and they will be treated like any UK or EU national.
This is perhaps the best Diwali for many Indian Doctors whose career prospects had taken a nose dive following the changed immigration rules in 2006.
The promise made to them initially as part of HSMP was permanent residence status in the UK after 4 years. With the changed immigration rules in 2006, many of the doctors could not complete their NHS training in the absence of work permits.
Reeling under huge financial loans and unable to complete their training, many international doctors were in a quandary. Those doctors who did not have visas beyond August 01, 2007, could not compete in the job interviews and appointment due to the 2006 immigration rules.
The secretary of the British Association for People of Indian Origin (BAPIO), Dr. Ramesh Mehta hailed the recent move by the UK government. He said, 'For the first time a clear message has been sent out that promises made to International Medical Graduates must be kept. HSMP doctors were allowed in to make UK their home; HSMP doctors must be treated at par with UK and EU nationals and there is no basis for discriminating against them.'
Temporary arrangements have been made for HSMP workers in the UK, so that they would satisfy the conditions for leave rules and could remain in the United Kingdom.
Absolutely ecstatic, Mr. Ram Moorthy, chairman of the British Medical Association's Junior Doctors Committee, said, 'Doctors on the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme came to the UK in the honest expectation of careers in the NHS. The BMA has never wavered from the view that they should be able to compete for training posts alongside their UK colleagues.'
As much as 40,713 applications by International Doctors for inclusion under HSMP have been received in 2006. Among these, 21,948 applications have received a positive reply.
With the current ruling by the British Government, international doctors will be allowed to compete with UK and EU doctors for training and jobs without any discrimination.