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BMA stresses visa complexity to Lords

The BMA has highlighted its concerns about immigration rule changes before a Lords debate on the issue.

This afternoon, peers will discuss recent amendments to visa rules, such as those that affect doctors and medical students working and studying in the UK.

The Lords will debate an expression of regret by Labour peer Baroness Smith of Basildon at the rule changes.

Peers have received a briefing from the BMA on its views on immigration policies.

Doctors leaders say debate on such policies should acknowledge the significant impact of highly skilled migrants, such as doctors, in delivering and sustaining public services.

Visa rule changes must not be retrospectively introduced, the association adds.

‘Any changes introduced to the immigration rules must provide medical students and doctors already committed to studying and training in the UK with a clear pathway through the training system,’ the BMA says.

Training route closed

The association also highlights the impact of this April’s closure of the Tier 1 (post-study work) route.

Changes to this route mean non-European Economic Area graduates of UK medical schools now have to move immediately into specialty training after completion of the foundation programme or face the resident labour market test and only be eligible to compete in round two of recruitment on subsequent applications.

The BMA says: ‘The visa rules are complex and the nature of specialty training programmes means that different rules apply depending on the training pathway an individual pursues which can add to the confusion. Unfortunately information is not widely available to assist these doctors in making informed career choices based on the visa rules.’

The association also highlights the implications of changes to the family migration rules and charges for certificates of sponsorship.

If you have an immigration or visa query, see how the BMA Immigration Advice Service can help you.