Commonwealth Working Holiday Scheme

Home Department written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Paul Burstow Paul Burstow Shadow Secretary of State for Health

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) professions allied to medicine from Commonwealth countries are working in the UK on two-year visas under the Commonwealth Working Holiday Scheme; and what assessment he has made of the effects of changing the scheme to one-year visas on recruitment in the national health service.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

Working Holidaymakers are required to obtain entry clearance prior to coming to the United Kingdom. This allows them to take relevant employment, including as doctors, nurses and in other healthcare professions. No central record is kept by the Home Office of the numbers of working holidaymakers in each part of the workforce, including medicine and healthcare, because they do not need separate permission to work after arrival.

After 12 months in the United Kingdom working holidaymakers are eligible for work permit employment in any of the occupations on the list of designated shortage occupations maintained by Work Permits (UK). These include doctors, nurses and other healthcare professions. Working holidaymakers were eligible to switch into these occupations after 12 months in the United Kingdom before the changes announced on 7 February. The effect of these changes on recruitment in the national health service is therefore neutral.

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