19 September 2012

Sharp drop in migrant doctors blamed on UK visa clampdown

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A report published by the General Medical Council has shown a rapid decrease in the number of qualified doctors entering the UK, highlighting the impact tougher UK immigration controls are having.

UK immigration

Over 3,500 doctors came to the UK from India in 2004; that number has falled to just 500.

India has long since been the biggest source of qualified doctors entering the country. A record 3,641 UK visa applications were granted to Indian doctors in 2004; that number has fallen to approximately 500 this year.

The coalition Government has taken tougher steps with UK visa and immigration policies since assuming government two years ago. While the main intention was always to curb illegal and unnecessary or burdensome immigration, the report pointed to these measures as a reason in the drop of doctors coming to the UK.

"Doctors with a primary medical qualification from India represent the largest group of overseas doctors on the register," read the report. "However, the number of doctors coming from India has dropped from a peak of 3,641 in 2004 to current levels of around 500 a year.

"This may reflect changes in immigration rules in the UK."

The report conceded that India has a shortage of qualified doctors and wages have improved since 2004.

The report, titled 'The State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK', showed that Pakistan supplied the UK with the next most doctors last year, followed by Romania, Italy and Greece.

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the Government's current immigration policies risk being too heavy handed.

"The Government is right to tackle rates of illegal or unreliable immigration but it should be careful to avoid closing the door on extremely valuable migrants," said Ms Murdock.

"Doctors are always needed in the UK, immigration policy should be aware of that."


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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