Thursday, 31 May 2018 14:35


The SNP has today backed the British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) launch of the ‘Scrap the Cap’ campaign, following the revelation that between December 2017 and March 2018, more than 1,500 visa applications for doctors were refused by the Home Office due to its cap on tier 2 visas.

Stuart McDonald MP, the SNP’s Westminster Immigration spokesperson, echoed concerns raised by the BMJ which warned that the limit on the number of allocated visas for skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area is putting “extra pressure on overstretched staff and threatening the care of patients.”

The SNP has repeatedly pressed the UK government to scrap the cap – which is set to be reached for the sixth month in a row - and for the full devolution of immigration powers to Scotland in order to be able to continue to attract skilled workers, as well as recognising the specific needs of Scotland’s economy.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Theresa May personally overruled Cabinet pleas for a relaxation of visa rules to allow overseas doctors to fill empty NHS posts and to address doctor shortages.

Commenting, Stuart McDonald MP said:

“The SNP has repeatedly called for the tier 2 cap to be scrapped because of the harm it is causing to businesses, the economy and key public services that are seeking to recruit important skilled staff.  

“The ‘Scrap the Cap’ campaign launched by the BMJ is welcome and adds to the growing chorus of concern over the damaging policies pursued by the Home Office over the years, as well as Theresa May's reported personal intervention in blocking her Cabinet's calls to allow specialist doctors and staff from coming to the UK to fill the worrying void.

“The UK hasn’t even left the EU and already the consequences in terms of attracting skilled workers are beginning to be felt. It is staggering that from December 2017 to March this year, more than 1,500 doctors have been turned away due to this Tory government’s ideological and ludicrous immigration targets.

“It is possible that the scale of the problem is even worse, as some employers will have simply given up on making applications under Tier 2, knowing full well they had no realistic chance of success. 

“The Home Office has presided over a policy of chaos and harm to our vital public services, and it must now heed the warnings and scrap the cap without delay.”

British Medical Journal - Scrap the Cap: BMJ calls for end to cap on non-EEA doctors being allowed to work in NHS:

Petition - Scrap the cap on international doctors being allowed to work in the NHS:

Theresa May vetoed Cabinet pleas over visa quotas for doctors from overseas to fill empty NHS posts:

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