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An eye doctor on the brink of becoming an NHS consultant has been left overseas by the Home Office unable to return to the UK to take up his first consultancy position after a visa application mix-up.
The NHS’ shortage of nearly 10,000 doctors in England has led to the addition of medics to the shortage occupation list of professionals that are prioritised for the issuance of UK working visas.
In a decision which seems to ignore this shortage, Dr Chan (who does not want to reveal further personal details) has been refused a visa to allow him to return to the UK to take up the post after making a small mistake in his application. Before applying for a new visa, Dr Chan, had plied his trade at a London hospital between September 2017 and August 2019.
Dr Chan says that the fault lies with “misleading and confusing advice” on the Home Office website for overseas nationals transferring between jobs in the UK. Both the UK health and home secretary have been urged to re-examine the case and reverse the decision to refuse entry to Dr Chan.
The chair of the Doctors’ Association UK has written an open letter to both ministers highlighting the irony of refusing a highly-skilled medical professional for something so trivial at a time when Britain is in dire need of dedicated professionals to fill empty posts.
Such U-turns are not uncommon, with a recent case involving the Home Office reversing its decision to deport a Taiwan-born NHS-funded trainee GP who, like Chan, had made a small mistake in their application for a new tier 2 working visa.
Despite reading the visa application guidance carefully, Dr Chan’s mistake was that he completed a “new application” for a tier 2 visa on the Home Office website, rather than completing the section entitled “change of employment”. Dr Chan maintains that this was something which the website guided him towards.
A Home Office spokesperson has indicated that the Dr Chan’s case is under review. This story is unfortunately all-too-familiar and highlights the importance of enlisting the help of immigration solicitors in order to make sure that an application is completed in line with confusingly-worded guidelines. Aside from the uncertainty a rejected application causes, the eye-watering application fees will be lost if the application is rejected, with the only fee refundable being the Home Office Health Surcharge.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Business Immigration / Employment Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.