The General Dental Council GDC and General Medical Council (GMC) have strict guidelines in place concerning the recruitment of consultants trained in non-EU countries. On the outset this is a good thing – it means that consultants in the UK are monitored and we can ensure that they are suitable trained, but when there is a shortage of specialist clinicians and a process that can take months, or even years, to entice them in from non-EU countries, you have to question whether the guidelines are too strict.
Immigration rules state that a non-EU consultant must be applying for a job that appears in the Shortage of Labour Market test.
Where skilled positions cannot be filled by EU nationals, Trusts are being forced to look further afield. They must have a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) to allow them to seek to fill these positions from other countries, which formally recognizes them as the main sponsor. The first hurdle is getting this certificate, which requires permission to be given by the Home Office. Presuming that goes without a hitch though, it entitles the Trust to make applications to hire a consultant from abroad.
Once a suitable candidate is found, they naturally need to go through a series of interviews. The process doesn’t end here though. Following a successful interview, papers need to be provided by the Trust to the Home Office. The required paperwork is frustratingly time consuming, and frequently takes a 6-8 month period. A lot can change during this time in the both the motivations and the circumstances of the selected Clinician in question and unfortunately, there is simply nothing that the NHS can do to speed this process along.
Should the chosen applicant be a non-native English language speaker there is yet another hurdle to pass, as they will need to undergo English language testing. This too, has been tightened in recent years and is a lot more complex to pass. Regardless though, evidence of a pass must be submitted along with the application.
A further barrier to entry is that Consultants who did not receive their primary medical training in an EU country must be applying for a position that is on the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR). This in itself requires yet another long and drawn out process with a 6-8 month procedure required for certification. As part of the process and applicant will need to submit in the region of 1,000 papers for review to the GMC for assesment.
Between immigration rules and the GMC’s CESR rules, it’s no wonder that the NHS is suffering from skills shortages.