I have written the letter above to Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes following the rejection of a number of visas for qualified doctors who intended to support hospitals in Worcestershire. I am concerned about the rules in the current system that have led to this and have asked the Minister to take advantage of the ongoing review into our immigration system post-Brexit to assess what measures can be taken to incentivise highly qualified professionals to come and contribute to public services in the UK.
The text of the letter is below:
"I am writing on behalf of a number of constituents in relation to recent unsuccessful visa cases involving overseas doctors, a number of whom are trying to come to the UK to work in Worcestershire Hospitals.
I am aware that within the current immigration system the reasons for denying a number of overseas doctors visas to come to the UK are legitimate. They are not on the shortage occupation list as advised by the Migration Advisory Committee and defying Committee advice would mean denying people in other important professions access to the UK. In light of the ongoing review into immigration post-Brexit, however, it seems reasonable to ask on behalf of my constituents that these rules are thoroughly examined moving forward so that we can ensure our immigration system is supporting and enhancing our vital public services as much as possible.
As you may know, the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust has been operating under special measures since December 2015. Hospitals around my constituency are under immense pressure and are looking at all possible avenues that could ensure patient safety and adequate care. I was extremely concerned, therefore, that 11 qualified doctors have been denied visas to come and support hospitals in Worcestershire because of the rules I touched on above. I am delighted that 4,000 overseas doctors were granted visas in 2017 but am in no doubt that this additional staffing in Worcestershire would have been of great benefit to local people.
I acknowledge the strong mandate to control our borders inferred by the referendum and believe that measures to further incentivise highly skilled professionals who will bring tangible benefit to British communities would be an excellent use of this control. I hope that on behalf of my constituents and others around Worcestershire and the UK, such important steps will be taken into serious consideration in the ongoing review.""