Immigration rules for non-EU doctors and nurses to be 'softened'

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As part of a long-term government plan for the NHS, more details of which will be set out in due course, doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on skilled worker visas. Under the Tier 2 visa cap, UK-based employers need to apply for certificates of sponsorship to recruit Indian and other non-EU skilled workers.

NHS doctors and nurses will be excluded from restrictions to the number of visas granted to skilled non-EU migrant workers, the Home Office has confirmed.

The immigration policy director at business lobby group London First, Mark Hilton, described the decision as "a step in the right direction", but added: "It's time for Government to accept that arbitrary caps and targets don't work".

Sajid Javid will unveil a major easing of Britain's immigration system that will enable thousands more highly-skilled migrants to come to the United Kingdom in the run-up to Brexit, The Telegraph has learned.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said the announcement would be a "much-needed victory for common sense and patient care".

Earlier this month, chairwoman Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard urged Mr Javid to relax immigration rules, warning there were concerning cases where foreign Global Positioning System had been affected by the "hostile environment" policies first brought in by Mrs May.

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Today, at the NHS Confederation's conference in Manchester, Hunt said it was "extremely welcome" that the prime minister had amended the rules to allow more medical professionals to join the NHS.

She added: "The NHS, general practice included, has always been supported by the skills and hard work of doctors and other healthcare professionals from overseas".

"But perhaps this is a sign that Home Secretary Sajid Javid is willing to take a bolder and more flexible approach to immigration, and deliver the kind of system that Britain will need after we leave the European Union". But NHS England has said that more than thirty thousand nurse vacancies and ten thousand doctors' posts are unfilled.

Sunder Katwala, director at immigration think-tank British Future, said: "Perhaps this is a sign that Sajid Javid is willing to take a bolder and more flexible approach to immigration, and deliver the kind of system that Britain will need after we leave the European Union".

The move would mean businesses will be allowed to employ an additional 8,000 skilled migrants annually in industries including IT, engineering and education, which according to the paper effectively increases the current cap by 40 percent.

Whether Javid will prove to be a new broom at the home office remains to be seen.

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