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News ->Indian Doctors may get immigration reprieve

(31 July 2006)

The British Association of Physicians on Indian Origin (BAPIO) deliver a 600-signature petition protesting against new immigration rules.The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) was granted permission to the hearing of its legal challenge against the new immigration rules affecting international doctors. BAPIO has claimed that the decision to abolish permit free training for doctors qualified outside the UK and the EEA was unfair and unjust. It has also argued that the Department of Health guidelines on interpretation of the Immigration Rules on doctors with leave to remain in the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme were discriminatory and unreasonable.

Mr Buddhdev Pandya MBE, who is BAPIO's Honorary Corporate Advisor confirmed that BAPIO had claimed that the departments have not followed due procedures such as appropriate consultations and undertaking of a Race Equality Impact Assessment. BAPIO estimates that about 10,000 trainee doctors will have to leave the country half way through their training within months unless the rules are changed.

Dr Raman Lakshman, from BAPIO's advisory council lamented "Because of the new ruling, thousands of doctors who had passed the PLAB test and were waiting for training jobs have lost hope and a large number have already returned home, bitter and angry. Things must change quickly to reduce the distress to those who are still here".

Following announcement by the Department of Health abolishing Permit Free Training for the Trainee doctors from Non EU countries, BAPIO filed a case in the high court on Wednesday the 7th June 2006, asking for a Judicial Review. It has briefed Mr. Rabinder Singh QC through M/s Linder-Myers solicitors.

In April, BAPIO had organised a peaceful demonstration at the Whitehall and submitted a petition signed by over 6000 doctors to the Department of Health. A Minister of the Home Office confirmed that they had not published the details for consultations after a labour backbench Mr Austin Mitchell MO raised an early day motion in the House of Commons.

Earlier BAPIO delegates were invited by Health Minster Lord Warner to discuss the concerns of international doctors. Subsequently there was also a meeting with senior officials from the DOH to look at possible solutions.

Mr Buddhdev Pandya MBE, Honorary Corporate Advisor to BAPIO commented 'The news from the Court is a good omen. However we are happy that the Minister has opened up dialogue with BAPIO which may have potential to resolve the problem'.

BAPIO wants the Department of Health to issue correct guidance for doctors with leave to remain in the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme, in particular to make it clear that doctors on the HSMP may be appointed to posts that extend beyond the duration of their current leave to remain and hence can compete equally with UK/EEA nationals for such posts.

It seeks and an order quashing the decision to amend the Immigration Rules for Postgraduate Doctors and Dentists so as to abolish permit free training for doctors who qualified outside the UK and the EEA.

The case is likely to be heard towards the end of August after the summer recess.


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