For many young Indian doctors the dream of getting trained in the UK, is about to get a lot more difficult, with the new immigration rule that makes it mandatory to have a work permit.
The new immigration rule is to be implemented from this July making it mandatory for a non-European doctor to have a work permit to train at the UK's National Health Service (NHS). The rule to obtain a work permit specifies that the employer would have to establish that the vacancy is genuine and could not be filled by a local doctor. The new rule, they claim to be implementing is to protect the local doctors.
Dr Satheesh Mathew, a consultant paediatrician with NHS, and a member of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin told the press that the This new rule would also adversely affect over 15,000 Indian doctors in UK who are in different stages of training or waiting to be recruited, not to mention the doctors from other countries, in addition to future doctors seeking training. This new rule will affect the only the medical profession as other fields already need a work permit to work and a students visa to train.
Upset over the rule the Overseas and Indian doctors plan to hold a demonstration at the UK's Department of Health later this week. Dr Mathew is planning to lead almost about 1,000 doctors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. He said that these doctors want authorities to provide relief to doctors undergoing training or trained but unemployed in the UK. He stated that restricting the numbers taking the exam to as many jobs available in the UK could reduce the future doctors headed to the UK.
Dr Mathew disagrees with the observation of the British Medical Association's claiming that 30% of UK's doctors are unemployed. Their claim and observation is considered the factor influencing the new rule. Explaining that the new rule will affect doctors and dentists since other professions already need a work permit to work and a students' visa to train in the UK, he said that doctors from India are qualified professionals, they were allowed to come earlier on a permit-free training (PFT) visa, especially as UK needed the manpower then.
Dr C.G. Nanda Kumar, consultant anaesthetist with the NHS who will also participate in the demonstration, said that a doctor who has finished a part of the training (on a PFT visa) wishes to apply for further training, which is a requirement for getting the higher exams, they will have to satisfy work permit requirements, which becomes well highly impossible in the present setting. Dr Sanjiv Malik with the Indian Medical Association said that the Indian doctors have been the backbone of the UK health structure. He felt that when over a dozen Indian hospitals are empanelled with the NHS, the idea behind the new rule affecting Indian doctors is not logical, especially since the NHS is under-staffed and has long waiting lists.
Doctors seeking training in the UK have to take the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Board) part I & II exams, held in India and the UK respectively. The exams are held, round the year (with the exception of Christmas/New Year. The two exams cost about Ģ600.