UK introduces new policy, restricts recruitment of Nigerian doctors, others

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The United Kingdom has introduced a new policy in a bid to restrict the recruitment of doctors from Nigeria and other developing countries. The policy does not, however, bar Nigerian doctors from migrating to the UK.

This is according to a statement by the UK government titled, “The UK to strengthen its ethical approach to the international recruitment of health and care workers” on 25 February 2021.

The updated code of practice, which will help to meet UK’s target of delivering 50,000 more nurses by 2024, is expected to affect 47 countries especially Nigeria, which has the third-largest number of migrant doctors in the UK.

The list also showed that almost all the countries affected are in Africa.

They include Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Guinea-Bissau, and Haiti.

Some others affected include Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo Uganda, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

The UK said the new policy was in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendation.

The statement read in part, “To align with the WHO, the new code refers to the WHO Health Workforce Support and safeguard List, 2020 of 47 countries where active recruitment can’t be undertaken.

“This replaces the previous UK-held list of 152 countries and removes confusion which can arise from the UK holding a separate list of countries. UK recruiters are not permitted to actively recruit from these countries unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place for managed recruitment.”

The PUNCH reports that there are currently over 8,000 Nigerian trained doctors in the UK, based on statistics obtained from the UK General Medical Council, the government body that maintains the country’s official register of medical practitioners.

The PUNCH also observed that at least one Nigerian doctor is recruited in the UK daily.

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