How do we make Britain attractive for qualified professionals from abroad?

The current economic conditions in the UK mean that many qualified professionals are leaving the UK in search of a better life overseas. As a nation the UK needs a steady supply of doctors, engineers, pharmacists and academics and increasingly we are looking overseas to find well-qualified people to work in our hospitals and research labs. The problem is that other countries are competing for the same brain power, so how do we make the UK attractive?


Many doctors and scientists who were born and educated overseas are well aware of what it is like to live in the UK, but the government undertakes a program of advertising and public relations to raise awareness levels. This is often done through Universities, and bodies such as the British Council give information regarding postgraduate studies in the UK or research and further training opportunities. The idea is that once a foreign professional comes here to complete their studies, they see how good their lifestyle could be and then stays.

Fast-track Medical Visas

Almost 40% of doctors working in the NHS were born overseas, and the government are currently looking at ways in which to make the visa application process easier for doctors or dentists coming to complete their training or work in the NHS. The system of work permits, visas and the ability to bring a family into the UK is complex, and it appears that the system is putting off many highly skilled medical professionals.

Points System

The government system enabling people to apply for visas and come to the UK is based on points and there are different tiers of eligibility. The system is designed to make it easier for high value migrants to settle in the UK. To qualify for the highest points and Tier 1 status, migrants need to show they have exceptional talents, entrepreneur skills or are doing a job that cannot be done by a British worker. Having a position secured in a UK company and sponsorship from an employer can also speed up the process considerably.