The United Kingdom (UK) is welcoming doctors and nurses from around the globe to apply for visas after a previous cap limited the number allowed into the country.

After mounting pressure, the UK government announced plans to exempt doctors and nurses from a cap on the number of visas available for skilled workers to enter the UK from a country that does not form part off the European Union (EU).

There is an annual limit of 20 700 on certificates of sponsorship (CoS), which is a document that an employer must obtain to recruit a non-EU worker.

The demand for CoS began to outnumber the supply from December 2017 onwards, causing employers to refuse requests to employ non-EU skilled workers in rolls that are not PhD-levels occupations and not on the shortage occupation list.

Occupations outside these two groups are prioritised largely on the basis of proposed salary and the effective salary required for most applicants has risen from a minimum of  £30 000 to between £50 000 and £60 000.

An increasing number of CoS applications are being refused each and every month, increasing from 1 093 in December 2017 to 1 958 in March 2018. Approximately a quarter of these refusals were doctors, with a further 6% including other health professionals such as pharmacists. This has led to the calls for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK to be exempt from the cap.

Nurses were placed on the shortage occupation list in 2015 and are thus prioritised over others. They are also not affected by the changing salary requirements or the new exemption.

As result of the exemption, doctors applying for a Tier 2 (general) visa will not have compete with other skilled workers for the limited number of CoS available each year.

Occupation group Dec-17 Jan-18 Feb-18 Mar-18
Doctors 266 375 390 487
Other health professionals 62 80 107 108
Corporate managers/directors 40 47 63 76
Science, research, engineering and technology professionals 274 359 423 542
Teaching and educational professionals 33 45 60 59
Business, media and public service professionals 282 346 435 478
Others 136 131 170 206
Total 1,093 1,383 1,648 1,956

To apply for a Tier 2 (general) visa, you will need:

– your certificate of sponsorship reference number

– proof of your knowledge of English

– a bank or building society statement or letter that shows you have enough personal savings (unless your certificate of sponsorship shows your sponsor can support you)

– expired passports or travel documents if you need them to show your travel history

– your tuberculosis test results if you’re from a listed country

– a criminal record certificate – if you’re working with vulnerable people

Source/graphic: The Conversation

Picture: Pixabay

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading the works of Stephen King, and exploring the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds.