Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, pressed the Immigration Minister to abolish the Tier 2 visa cap again this week, following no answers from the government on the visa cap which rejects skilled STEM workers, despite them holding job offers in the UK.
Mr Zeichner said: “Given that the Tier 2 visa cap has been reached three times in the last three months, what does she say to employers like Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, who are desperate for skilled staff, find those people, and then find the government says they can’t come here? Is it really the government’s policy to deny the National Health Service the skilled people they need?”
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes replied: “Well I’d like to reassure the Honourable gentleman that no range of medical professionals that are on the shortage occupation list have been refused a visa. What is important is that we keep this under review, and we look carefully to make sure that we recruit more doctors and more nurses within the UK, and my Right Honourable friend the Health Secretary is committed to doing exactly that, and making sure that there are an increased number of training places for both nurses and doctors.”
Mr Zeichner comments: “The Minister mentioned the occupation shortage list -; there’s clearly a problem if these job roles in the Intensive Care Unit, or elsewhere, are not on the list. Doctors are only recruited from overseas if posts cannot be filled in the UK, due to recruitment protocol and the costs involved. The Home Office cannot carry on applying this kind of bureaucracy if they’re not going to maintain it properly. Abolishing the cap would fix this, across the skilled work STEM areas.”
“It’s also a simple question of logistics -; it takes years to train doctors and nurses, which the government has failed to act on sufficiently over the last eight years. Committing to more training places isn’t going to solve the critical condition of NHS staffing today; we need action by the government to sort this problem now. “
The cap was reached in December 2017, and January and February 2018, causing skilled workers to have their immigration and visa applications rejected.