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Latest immigration updates

Participate in the 2nd stage pilot of the ‘settled status’ scheme

The UK Government has developed a scheme, called the ‘settled status’ scheme, for EU nationals to apply for residence in the UK after Brexit. The scheme will be open to all EU nationals resident in the UK from March 2019 onwards.

On 29 November 2019 however, the UK Government is launching a live trial in which EU nationals working in higher education and health and social care sector in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can apply for, and secure, settled status.

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Need for a criminal records check for doctors moving onto Tier 2 visas

For doctors who are applying for their first Tier 2 visa on or after 6 April 2017, if they are not already in the UK, they will need to include a criminal record certificate with their visa application, otherwise their visa application will be refused and they may lose their fee. The criminal records certificate will also need to be provided by any adult dependant of the Tier 2 migrant who are applying to enter the UK from 6 April 2017. This only applies if you are applying for entry clearance – if you are already in the UK, you don’t need to apply for a criminal records certificate.

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Immigration skills charge

The Immigration skills charge is due to be introduced from 6 April 2017. It means that any employer who wants to bring in a worker from outside the EU on a tier 2 visa will have to pay £1,000 for each year they need a certificate of sponsorship for that worker. So, for example, if a hospital wishes to employ a doctor on a Tier 2 visa for five years to come and work for them, the hospital trust would need to pay £5,000 up front when making the application for the certificate of sponsorship to UK Visas and Immigration.

We are concerned that not only is it not appropriate for NHS institutions to have to pay this charge out of public funds, but also that in some cases, employers may try to pass the charge on to employees.

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Tier 2 salary threshold change

Doctors applying for a Tier 2 visa need to be earning the ‘appropriate salary’ for their grade, or the minimum salary, whichever is higher. This means that doctors from outside the EEA who are applying for a Tier 2 visa from 6 April 2017 need to be earning at least:

  • £36,100 a year if they are a Speciality registrar ST/CT 1 & 2 (£30,302 if they are not on a junior doctor contract)
  • £45,750 a year if they are a Specialty registrar at ST/CT 3 and above (£30,302 if they are not on a junior doctor contract)
  • £37,547 if they are a Specialty doctor
  • £55,965 if they are a salaried GP and
  • £76,001 if they are a consultant.

Once you have your visa, if you decide to work part-time, you must ensure your salary does not fall below the minimum threshold or you will lose your visa. If your employer’s certificate of sponsorship was issued on or after 6 April 2017, the minimum threshold is £30,000 and you must ensure you are earning at least this amount from 6 April or you will lose your visa.

The ‘appropriate salary’ also applies when a doctor makes a claim for settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after five years in the UK. If you are not earning the ‘appropriate salary’ for your grade on the date you make your application, your application will be unsuccessful and you may have to wait until you have been in the UK for ten years before you can successfully apply.

Find out more about rules on working in the UK


Changes to PLAB test

From September 2017, there are changes planned to the PLAB test including how many times it can be taken, the introduction of a time limit for passing PLAB 2 once PLAB 1 has been taken, and a time limit for registering for a licence to practice once PLAB is passed.

Changes to PLAB test


Brexit - new guidance for EU nationals working in the UK

The BMA has reaffirmed its commitment to working with our European partners, in the aftermath of the UK referendum.

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We have brought together all the work the BMA is doing on Brexit in one place.

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EU nationals currently living in the UK continue to have the right to live, study and work in the UK, as do their family members. Once an EU national has lived in the UK as a 'qualifying person' for five years, they and their family members have the right to register for permanent residence here, to give them reassurance and protection for the future.
We encourage all EU nationals currently in the UK who have been here for five years as a qualifying person to claim permanent residence to protect themselves and their family members.

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EU nationals who have been in the UK for less than five years should apply for a registration certificate to prove they are a qualified person who has been living in the UK for less than five years.

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If you need help with your application or have any queries, please email us or call one of our immigration advisers on 0300 123 1233