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Doctors Ditched by Home Office


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A doctor ‘is no longer considered an acceptable professional person’ by the Home Office. The quotation is taken directly from an email from a policy adviser in the UKBA Nationality Group.

Doctors were quietly dropped from mention in the application form for British citizenship and removed from the UKBA list of acceptable professional persons at Annex A to Chapter 6 of the Nationality Instructions.

I know the Home Office has little time for medical experts and does everything it can to impugn the reputation of any doctor who writes reports in the immigration tribunal but, really, this seems a little much! I cannot help noting that doctors are nevertheless considered suitably responsible to diagnose illness and disease, administer drugs and prescribe treatment, generally to make life and death decisions and, apparently, to administer the entire NHS budget, if Government plans become reality.

Civil servants are still on the list, I see. As are dentists. And nurses. And opticians. Bizarrely, Members of Parliament have been left on the list, though, which is surely some sort of mistake.

One has to wonder why UKBA has taken this step and whether the General Medical Council was consulted about its professional downgrading.

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


5 Responses

  1. The Nationality Group was recently given high praise by John Vine and his team, presumeably continuing the good level of service that its predecessor, the Nationality Directorate, has given my relatives over the years.

    Both the legal profession and my own profession are still listed so technically why should we care? Well if GPs are removed from the list of people able to certify photos for a British passport, I risk relying on just one friend.

    GPs must be furious, as their subjects, nurses, are still on the list. Why are teachers and social workers considered professional, because they are public sector workers?

    Enough of the tongue in cheek, I suspect its just an oversight. Either that or UKBA are bringing the Nationality Group back to the “normal” levels of service of Homeoffice departments.

  2. Attended a course run by the always excellent Alison Harvey who provided a little more information on this issue.

    It would seem that UKBA’s reasoning for their position is that they say GMC informed them that doctors appears to spend all their time completing the AN1 forms.

    Obviously ILPA are involved in the consultation process and the feedback then received from GMC is that they say if doctors are happy to carry this task then they cannot see what the problem is. Nothing is cast in stone yet.

  3. Another bizarre and mean-spirited policy change came in a recent letter from the Home Office in response to a subject access request about a client’s immigration status. The HO letter states that ‘In line with our policy to improve the security of the documents we issue, the UKBA no longer provides letters as evidence of immigration or nationality status….We encourage migrants to obtain evidence of their status by obtaining independent legal advice or, if they consider they know their status, to apply for a British Passport,Certificate of Entitlement, …’ Then, to add insult to injury the letter goes on to encourage employers, NHS trusts etc. to ring the UKBA (number provided!) where a person’s immigration status is relvant for deciding whether to provide a service or benefit’. I guess will continue to advise clients that their GP is a permitted referree to support their nationality applications, warn them of the possiblity they might be asked to find another referee and take up the challenge if the application is refused.

  4. Hmmm, I think I know why Doctors have been taken off. Those that live in the East part of London will now exactly why. Those that don’t live there; ask a friend/ family member/ colleague!