International medical graduates protest at UK visa changes

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 27 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:989
  1. Balaji Ravichandran
  1. BMJ

    About 500 doctors attended a protest march to Whitehall, London, on 21 April, against the rapid implementation of new immigration rules for international medical graduates in the United Kingdom.

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    Credit: MARK THOMAS

    Under the proposals, doctors from outside the European Economic Area will no longer be able to take up training posts in the UK without a visa. To get a visa, the employer must first be satisfied that no medical graduate from the European Economic Area can do the job. Graduates in existing posts can stay until their contract expires, but, from July, any application for a new job will require evidence that the applicant has a visa.

    “This is nothing short of betrayal of trust,” said Umesh Prabhu, the vice chairman of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and an experienced mentor for overseas practitioners. “About 15 000 international medical graduates work in the NHS and others spend thousands of pounds to come to the UK and take the PLAB [Professional Linguistic and Assessment Board] test, and still they remain unemployed. If they had known of the ruling earlier, they would have never come to Britain in the first place.”

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