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Last Updated: Aug 19th, 2006 - 22:18:38

UK Channel
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Medical News : Professionals : Doctors : UK

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End of Permit Free Training for International Doctors in UK
Mar 8, 2006, 04:15, Reviewed by: Dr. Priya Saxena

“The Department of Health will continue to work with the General Medical Council to ensure that IMGs who are interested in working or training in the UK understand exactly what type of job and training opportunities exist. “

 
All doctors wishing to work in the UK from outside the European Union (EU) will be required to have a work permit from July 2006 Health Minister Lord Warner announced today.

The move means that any NHS trust wishing to employ a doctor from outside the EU will have to prove that a ‘home-grown’ doctor cannot fill the vacant post, ending the current permit free training arrangement for international doctors.

Health Minister Lord Warner said:

“We now have more than 117,000 doctors working in the NHS, 27,400 more than in 1997 as well as record levels of doctors in training in UK medical schools.

“This investment and expansion, coupled with the reform of medical education, is leading to increased competition for medical posts as vacancy rates fall.

“Therefore, to ensure that we are only recruiting doctors to the UK where we have a genuine skills shortage NHS Trusts will be required to get a work permit for every doctor that they wish to employ from outside the EU.

“In future International Medical Graduates who wish to work or train in the NHS will need a work permit. To obtain a work permit an employer must show that a genuine vacancy exists, which cannot be filled with a resident worker.”

“We recognise that international doctors have made a huge contribution to the NHS since it was founded in 1948 and there will still be opportunities for overseas staff to come to the UK. We will continue to need small numbers of specialist doctors, who can bring their skills and experience to the NHS. However, increasingly the NHS will be less reliant on international medical recruitment.”

The changes will come into action shortly when the NHS will only be able to recruit internationally when they cannot fill a training post with a UK graduate.

The only exception will be to allow two years of permit-free training for non-European Union nationals who have trained in a UK medical schools so that they can acquire full registration with the GMC.

Numbers of doctors entering medical school in UK

Any doctor wishing to apply for postgraduate medical education training in the UK , whether at the Modernising Medical Careers foundation programme level or senior house officer stage, will be required to have a work permit.

Currently International Medical Graduates (IMGs) are able to undertake postgraduate medical education in the UK without needing a work permit.

Health Minister Lord Warner added:

“The Department of Health will continue to work with the General Medical Council to ensure that IMGs who are interested in working or training in the UK understand exactly what type of job and training opportunities exist. “
 

- Department of Health, UK
 

Discussion: End of UK Dream

 
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There are currently 117,036 doctors working in the NHS, an increase of 27,417 since 1997. The vacancy rate for consultants has fallen each year since 2002. UK is changing the specific category within the Immigration Rules for Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists. At the moment, this category enables doctors and dentists to train in Foundation Programmes, in Senior House Officer and equivalent grades and in Specialist Registrar and equivalent grades. For immigration purposes they are considered as being in training, and not in employment in the UK. This will no longer be the case, and these will now be considered as employment posts for immigration purposes. This means that these doctors and dentists will need to meet the requirements of an employment category of the Immigration Rules, such as the work permit provisions.
# Any existing leave will continue on the current conditions. This means that, if someone has valid leave as a Postgraduate Doctor or Dentist, they can continue in their current post and take up any other relevant training posts until their leave expires. If they want to remain in the UK beyond this time, then they will need to meet the requirements of a relevant category within the Immigration Rules, such as the work permit system. If they do not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules, then they will have to leave the UK. Overseas doctors and dentists will still be able to come and train in the UK. However, they will now be considered as being in employment for immigration purposes, and will therefore need to meet the requirements of an employment category of the Immigration Rules, such as the work permit system. Work permits will only be issued where there is a specific post for the overseas doctor or dentist which cannot be filled by someone from within the UK or EEA.


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