“Visa rules are complex”, BMA tells Lords

Debate on immigration policies should acknowledge the significant impact of highly skilled migrants, such as doctors, in delivering and sustaining public services, The British Medical Association (BMA) has said.

The BMA highlighted its concerns about immigration rule changes in a briefing to the Lords.

Visa rule changes must not be retrospectively introduced, the association said.

“Any changes introduced to the immigration rules must provide medical students and doctors already committed to studying and training in the UK with a clear pathway through the training system,” the BMA said.

The association also highlighted the impact of this April’s closure of the Tier 1 (post-study work) route. Changes to this route mean non-European Economic Area graduates of UK medical schools now have to move immediately into specialty training after completion of the foundation programme or face the resident labour market test and only be eligible to compete in round two of recruitment on subsequent applications.

The BMA said: “The visa rules are complex and the nature of specialty training programmes means that different rules apply depending on the training pathway an individual pursues which can add to the confusion. Unfortunately information is not widely available to assist these doctors in making informed career choices based on the visa rules.”

The association also highlighted the implications of changes to the family migration rules and charges for certificates of sponsorship.

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