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15,000 NRI doctors in UK lose case
H.S. Rao

The trigger: The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, had sought the quashing of the "discriminatory" immigration law of April 3 last year 

What it means: Doctors and medical students will be forced to leave the country.

London, February 9
An estimated 15,000 Indian doctors and medical students in the UK will be forced to leave the country with their careers in tatters as a high court here today refused to quash an immigration law that stipulates doctors from outside the EU need a work permit to train in Britain.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, through a Judicial Review petition had sought the quashing of the immigration law of April 3 last year on the ground that it "discriminated" against non-European medicos but lost its 7-month old battle.

The only positive point of the judgement was that the court ruled the Secretary of State for Home had failed to carry out a Race Equality Impact assessment before making changes to the immigration rules.

But the court at the same time observed that there was no obligation on the Government departments to consult BAPIO or other interested parties before making the changes to the immigration rules.

Judge Stanley Burton said he agreed with only one-third of their arguments against the department of health and home office. "I agree the British government has been lax in failing to conduct a race impact assessment of the new visa requirements for non-European doctors." A race impact assessment is required by Britain's stringent race relations laws.

The BAPIO regretted the “suicide” just days before the judgement by the second appellant in the case, Imran Yousaf.

BAPIO vice-chairman Satheesh Mathew said Lahore-born Imran Yousaf who had been in this country for about two years found that the new visa regulations introduced in April last year made it much more difficult for him to obtain a job here and he remained unemployed.

Recently he got a letter from the Home Office refusing him further leave to remain. “All this was too much for him and precipitated him to take his own life,” Mathew said.

According to Mathew, Imran’s case was a tip of the iceberg of distress and damage that the new regulations have done to the vast number of international medical graduates in this country.

Ramesh Mehta, President of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), which had filed the Judicial Review petition said “we believe we have a strong case and we are positively thinking of appealing against the High Court verdict”.

“The verdict has provided no relief to thousands of International Medical Graduates whose careers are being destroyed by the new Immigration Regulations which came into force on April 3, 2006,” Mehta said. — PTI

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