For international healthcare staff and for the international doctors, the NHS stands as an attractive employer. But ironically while these people still make important contributions to the NHS, their UK visa process is still not hassle free. To a considerable extent, the NHS is dependent on the overseas doctors. But for the visa processing, overseas doctors are still facing issues starting from home office interviews to the visa processing fees and the strange visa regulations.
As per the immigration rules, an overseas doctor is defined as one who irrespective of where he/she may have obtained their primary qualification, do not have the right of residence or settling in the UK nor can enjoy the benefits of the European Community Rights
To enter the UK, overseas doctors need to go through visa hassles (exclusive of European Economic Area)
There are different categories of visas. But most of the doctors enter the UK on a PLAB (Professional & Linguistics Assessments Board) visit visa. If the doctors who go through a PLAB visit visa but fail to find a job in the first six months, they are required to have an extension of leave. The application charges are high and it's up to the discretion of the home office to decide on the leave extension matters. Sometimes the visa may be granted for just a month or a couple of weeks.
Doctors with visitor visas are prohibited from taking a job as this visa only permits entry to the UK to take the PLAB test or in case of other exams or clinical attachments.
Obtaining the first job
To obtain a job in the UK, overseas doctors need a permit free training or work permit. As per the immigration rules, overseas doctors holding a permit free training are allowed to enter the UK without a work permit. PFT is also based on the period of appointment authorized.
A work permit visa is required for overseas doctors to do non-training posts. There is also no guaranteed time within which the work permits will be given. Stringent rules on work permits also results as a reason for many in losing jobs.
Highly Skilled Migrant Programme
This programme allows highly skilled people to migrate to the UK for work. The HSMP programme is also different from work permits for the reason that it doesn’t require a specific job offer in the UK to apply. Temporary admission visitors and visitors without permission cannot apply for jobs in the UK where as doctors who are in both training and non training jobs are eligible for the HSMP visa. This programme is a point based immigration scheme based on the educational qualifications, work experience, past earnings, achievements, and partner status.
Any applicant would get a year’s permission to stay in the UK to seek unemployment. After a year, you would be required to apply for a period extension. One would be eligible for UK PR visa after 4 years of a successful application.