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During this entire saga of government reforms and petitions for removal of certain figures/ reforms etc, etc... It was hard not to notice that there is small mention of the IMGs that make up a substantial portion of the NHS workforce and how the new contracts will affect these individuals who are either in or preparation to join a training programme.
The current immigration laws have changed significantly since the beginning of the 21st century making it much harder for a Doctor who graduates from outside the UK and EU obtain a training position. This has coincided with a reform in the structure of training wherein a longer duration of training has already forced many a person to look elsewhere to progress in his/her career, despite the reputation of UK having some of the premier institutions when it comes to Medicine and its advancements.
The possibility to be a part of such institutions causes many a person to try for these hospital so as to enhnce their CVs.
The current government then decided to implement more stringent reforms in the immigration policy by which restrictions have come in place for persons entering the UK.
The new reforms have been put forth and reasonably enough, the IMG quotient of the NHS workforce are not thrilled with the fact that there is a potential paycut and lack of incentives driven pay rises on the horizon.
The average Joe IMG has to factor all the costs mentioned by UK and EU graduates when it comes to their career progression
These include Appearing for PLAB registration examinations , Professional registration fees, costs of completing their IELTS, Cost of their initial immigration document to allow them to complete their registration exams . cost of living without a source 0f income until they finish their registration process with the UK GMC council, then paying for a Clinical Attachment.
These costs are just prior to joining the Job mind you.
They still have the costs of medical education including their medical school debts in their home countries.
Once they secure a job, UK immigration requires a certificate of sponsorship with which to apply for a work permit visa. Now the new rule of paying a Health surcharge which is on top of your normal visa fees which amount to anywhere between 1000-3000 GBP depending on location.
Then comes the DBS checks which he/she needs to fork out of the first pay.
Then comes the pain of settling into a place in the UK which involves accommodation, food, etc, etc. Not to mention family life as the average age where a person settles down(marriage/partner etc) is considerably lower in other parts in the world when compared to the UK.
And they become helpless in trade union situations where petitions to call for strikes or mass resignation come into place - Doing any of these risks cancellation of their contract which in turn risks cancellations of their legality of their stay in the country.
If the county does decide the contracts are to go through then , what becomes of the innocent IMG who has gone through all this hardship to come into the country? Is this a sign that the government thinks they do not need them when in truth, they have been reliant on them since the 1940s? Hardly a hospital exists in the UK where you do not have at least one doctor from outside the EU/UK region. We have supplemented the needs of this vast organisation in every aspect. Not just as doctors but as nurses, HCAs, secretaries, support workers, porters, you name it ; every faction of the NHS has a member from these countries.
The DDRB proposals thus also serve to alienate these individuals resulting in a distinct possibility of further reduction in post applicants from these categories. We are all in this together , as fellow employees in the NHS .
I am going to apply for core medical training next year. I have done a masters degree and have worked in various hospitals in this country as a locum during the course of my course and feel suitable to raise this issue on behalf of my peers as I fear, that we may get lost in the discussion.
All IMGs through the NHS, feel free to comment and correct me if I have made any errors.
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