Theresa May overruled three of her top ministers to block plans to allow more doctors to move to Britain from overseas to tackle NHS staffing crisis in new immigration row
- Jeremy Hunt, Amber Rudd and Greg Clark have been lobbying over extra medics
- Demands for more overseas staff in the NHS came to a head late last week
- The Prime Minister has refused to bow to demands risking new immigration row
Theresa May overruled three of her most senior ministers to block an increase in the number of doctors allowed to move to Britain from overseas.
The Prime Minister rejected pleas for more foreign medics to ease a staffing crisis in the NHS – risking a new immigration crisis at the top of Government.
The pleas came from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and then Home Secretary Amber Rudd last week – while Ms Rudd was fighting a losing battle for her political life.
A maximum of 20,700 visas are available for professional migrant workers each year and monthly caps mean applications are routinely rejected.
Theresa May overruled three of her most senior ministers to block an increase in the number of doctors allowed to move to Britain from overseas
The pleas came from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt (right today in Downing Street) and then Home Secretary Amber Rudd (left today leaving home) last week – while Ms Rudd was fighting a losing battle for her political life
Business Secretary Greg Clark also lobbied the Prime Minister on the issue after the NHS went public with a need for more staff.
Downing Street has been lobbied for months over the number of ‘tier two’ visas available for medics and the issue came to a head on Friday, the Standard revealed today.
A Whitehall source told the paper Mrs May ‘absolutely refused to budge’ when asked to lift the cap in recent months.
‘I think Jeremy and Amber were on the same page on this but No 10 were in a different place entirely,’ said a separate source.
‘The cap had been reached for several months consecutively and the pressures on business and the health service were building up.’
Asked about the reports today, Downing Street insisted the number of visas available to doctors was constantly monitored.
Business Secretary Greg Clark also lobbied the Prime Minister on the issue after the NHS went public with a need for more staff (file image of the NHS Bradford Royal Infirmary)
But Mrs May’s official spokesman stopped short of saying the number would go up.
The annual limit for these Tier 2 migrant workers is 20,700 but if the monthly total is exceeded then professionals are refused.
Skilled-workers in the ‘shortage’ categories are given priority for places. Specialist doctors can qualify, as do NHS nurses, who are in short supply, leaving too few visas for ordinary doctors.
The new row over immigration emerged just two days after Ms Rudd resigned as Home Secretary amid a row over deportation targets.
And the entire Government has been engulfed in a major scandal over wrongful deportation of people from the Windrush generation of migrants to Britain.
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