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

Theresa May faces a new immigration crisis after it emerged that she overruled Cabinet ministers pleading for more doctors from overseas to fill empty NHS posts.

At least three government departments lobbied for a relaxation of visa rules to let in desperately needed doctors as well as specialist staff sought by businesses, the Evening Standard has learned.

The issue erupted on Friday when several NHS trusts went public about fears that patient safety was being put at risk by doctor shortages.

The crisis came as then home secretary Amber Rudd was fightingfor her political life over the Windrush scandal — but No 10’s hard line meant her hands were tied.

Sources have disclosed that Downing Street was lobbied for several monthsbefore the NHS went public to allow a relaxation of the rules. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Ms Rudd areunderstood to be among those urging No 10 to lift the quota for special cases such as NHS doctors. At the same time Business Secretary Greg Clark was pressing for more exceptions to help firms cope with specialist skills shortages.

A Whitehall source said Mrs May “absolutely refused to budge” when asked to lift the cap in recent months.

“I think Jeremy and Amber were on the same page on this but No 10 were in a different place entirely,” said a separate source. “The cap had been reached for several months consecutively and the pressures on business and the health service were building up.”

The NHS confederation said seven London trusts had reported that 53 doctors had been denied visas. More than 30 health trusts in the North-West have written to the Government demanding that around 100 junior doctors from India be allowed to work in their hospitals and health centres.

New Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who has dropped the language of “hostile environment” towards illegal migrants, will now have to decide whether to challenge Mrs May on the issue. A former Business Secretary, Mr Javid is well aware of business concerns. Non-EU visas are limited in supply under Mrs May’s policy of attempting to reduce net immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Government data shows the quota of Tier 2 visas had been used up for six months in a row and a Migration Advisory Council interim report in March warned that “employers in all sectors are concerned about the prospects of future restrictions”.

The annual limit for these Tier 2 migrant workers is 20,700 but if the monthly total is exceeded then professionals are refused. Skilled-workers in the “shortage” categories are given priority for places. Specialist doctors can qualify, as do NHS nurses, who are in short supply, leaving too few visas for ordinary doctors. Sources at the Home Office said Mr Javid would be looking at the issue in due course. Ms Rudd and Mr Hunt’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the visa system was being monitored. “It remains essential that we have control in our immigration system and that it works in the national interest,” he said.

“We are monitoring the situation in relation to visa applications for doctors including the monthly limits through the Tier 2 route. Around one third of places go to the NHS.”

Asked whether ministers had asked for the limits to be relaxed for doctors, the spokesman said he did not discuss formulation of government policy.

Tory tensions over Brexit escalated today after the Government suffered a heavy defeat in the Lords. Peers voted by 335 to 244 to give Parliament a decisive say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox warned the Upper Chamber against “thwarting” the result of the June 2016 EU referendum and insisted it meant that Britain could not remain in a customs union.

But his arguments were swiftly dismissed by leading rebel Anna Soubry. The former business minister said: “The profound irony of Parliament asserting its authority and control and being abused and vilified in the process is breathtaking. It shows how a bunch of ideologically-driven hard Brexiteers will stop at nothing to impose their will on the democratic process against the growing wishes of the people to have a Brexit deal which puts the economy at its heart.”

Nineteen Tory peers backed the amendment which Mr Fox suggested could be a “backdoor mechanism” to delay Brexit. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We can’t have a situation where the clearly expressed will of the people in a referendum is thwarted by effectively procedural devices that would keep us in the EU indefinitely.”

Read more news of London on our site.

standard.co.uk
NHSposts visaquotas
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in november
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Police have launched a manhunt after religious idols and Diwali donations were stolen from two north London temples in early morning raids. The Met said the early morning burglaries were being treated as linked and released a CCTV image of a hooded suspect on Saturday. Officers also urged faith leaders to be vigilant against future incidents. The first happened at the Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Willesden Lane, Brent, on November 9. While the priests were...
Society
Rail commuters have been told not to attempt to travel into London Waterloo after engineering works overran. South Western Railway (SWR) passengers using the route into London Waterloo from Surbiton were warned not to travel on Monday morning. Disruption is expected to last for the entire day and the Network Rail engineering works will not be finished until 8.39am at the earliest.  The rail operator said Woking, Surbiton, Raynes Park and Earlsfield station...
Society
Some 82 people have been arrested after hundreds of protesters gathered in central London in attempts to block five bridges on Saturday, as they demanded the Government take greater action on climate change. The group Extinction Rebellion encouraged people to perform a sit-in across Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges on following a co-ordinated week of action around the UK. Following their closures, all bridges have now reope...
Society
Almost one million crimes of fly-tipping were reported by councils across England during 2017-18, the first fall in five years. Councils recorded 997,553 incidents of illegal dumping, an average of more than 2,700 a day. It was a slight decrease on the 1,011,000 in 2016-17 and is the first time the figure has dropped since 2013. The government said two-thirds of fly-tipping involved household waste. It did not reveal the total cost to taxpayers of clearing...
Society
Children living in London boroughs with high diesel pollution suffer from stunted lung capacity, putting them at risk of early death, a study has said. Pupils living in areas that failed to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limits were at increased risk of lung disease, researchers found. The research studied 2,000 London school children over five years. "We are raising a generation of children reaching adulthood with stunted lungs," researchers said. Academics fro...
Incidents
A private school teacher has been left partially blind after another woman smashed a glass in her face during a night out.  Lisa Bertsch, 30, was at the Be At One bar in Richmond when she was hit in her right eye. The tumbler shattered and left Ms Bertsch, who lives with her boyfriend in Kingston, needing emergency surgery. She said the attack happened when she tried to stop the assailant pouring a cocktail over her friend’s belongings. Ms Bertsch added th...
Society
Discarded syringes have been left in play areas and car parks as a BBC investigation found councils were being called 50 times a day to remove them. Figures obtained by the BBC showed councils handled 18,496 cases in 2017-18, a rise of 7% in two years. A volunteer pricked by a discarded needle has told how he faces a wait for HIV and hepatitis test results. The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was "committed to doing more to reduce d...
Society
The German Zeppelin bombing campaign of London during WWI has been brought to the fore again days before the centenary of the war in a film made by schoolchildren. The first ever example of strategic bombing in history - a tactic used in total war with the goal of defeating the enemy by destroying their morale or economy - was during the First World War Emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II initially banned attacks on the capital because of his close connection to the...
Society
London’s busiest train station has recruited a hawk to scare off pigeons following a spate of complaints from angry passengers. Aria, a five-year-old harris hawk, has begun patrolling Waterloostation in a bid to stop people having to “fight" off pigeons while eating. There are 27 food and drink retailers at the Network Rail-managed station, and many customers have complained about pigeons pecking at food and leaving a mess. The birds have been pictured sit...
age-restriction-popup-content