End of Permit Free Training for International Doctors in UK
By DoH, UK
Mar 8, 2006, 04:15

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. “

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