Bri­tain lifts im­mi­gra­tion ‘cap’ for med­i­cal work­ers amid short­ages

Pro-Brexit MP sets up Ir­ish fund

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

LON­DON, June 14, (Agen­cies): Bri­tain said Thurs­day it will lift a cap on the num­ber of visas granted to for­eign doc­tors and nurses to help ease staffing short­falls in the coun­try’s Na­tional Health Ser­vice.

Prime Min­is­ter spokesman said the gov­ern­ment would re­move nonEuro­pean Union doc­tors and nurses from a cap on the num­ber of skilled-worker visas that can be is­sued each year.

The cap cur­rently re­stricts Tier Two visas for non-EU work­ers to 20,700 peo­ple per year.

The move is ex­pected to be for­mally an­nounced by the Home Of­fice on Fri­day.

The Royal Col­lege of Gen­eral Prac­ti­tion­ers said it would be a “much­needed vic­tory for com­mon sense and pa­tient care.”

It’s the first eas­ing of im­mi­gra­tion rules by a Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment with a long­stand­ing — and un­met — goal of cut­ting net im­mi­gra­tion to below 100,000. It’s cur­rently more than dou­ble that.

Crit­ics say the tar­get is ar­bi­trary, un­re­al­is­tic and eco­nom­i­cally harm­ful.

Peo­ple from all 28 EU coun­tries can cur­rently live in Bri­tain un­der the bloc’s free-move­ment rules. They will lose that au­to­matic right when the UK leaves the EU next March.

Bri­tain’s 2016 vote to leave the bloc was fol­lowed by an in­crease in the num­ber of EU med­i­cal staff leav­ing Bri­tain, adding to pres­sures on the coun­try’s over­stretched state-funded health care ser­vice.

Theresa May’s


UK to press ahead with laws:

The gov­ern­ment will press ahead with passing leg­is­la­tion to end Bri­tain’s mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean Union de­spite the de­volved Scot­tish par­lia­ment not hav­ing granted its con­sent, Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land David Mun­dell said on Thurs­day.

Dif­fer­ences over Brexit have strained re­la­tions be­tween the United King­dom’s four na­tions. Scot­land and North­ern Ire­land voted to stay in the EU in a 2016 ref­er­en­dum, while Wales and Eng­land vote to leave.

Un­der a con­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nism known as the Sewel Con­ven­tion, the Bri­tish par­lia­ment must seek con­sent from the Scot­tish par­lia­ment when it makes laws that have an im­pact on pol­icy ar­eas that are de­volved to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment.

Scot­land has so far with­held its con­sent. But Mun­dell said on Thurs­day that the con­ven­tion did not ap­ply in un­usual cir­cum­stances like Brexit and could not im­pede the pas­sage of the Euro­pean Union (With­drawal) Bill.

“We on this side of the house have com­pro­mised, we have made ev­ery ef­fort to reach agree­ment. We have sought con­sent,” Mun­dell told par­lia­ment.

MP sets up Ir­ish fund:

A fi­nan­cial firm co-founded by Ja­cob Rees-Mogg, a lead­ing pro-Brexit law­maker, has set up an in­vest­ment fund in Ire­land and warned prospec­tive clients about the dan­gers of a hard Brexit, Bri­tish news­pa­pers re­ported on Thurs­day.

Rees-Mogg’s Som­er­set Cap­i­tal Man­age­ment (SCM) launched the new fund in March, aim­ing it at in­ter­na­tional investors who want to keep their money in the Euro­pean Union af­ter Bri­tain leaves the bloc in 2019.

In a “risks” sec­tion, the prospec­tus for the new fund said that be­fore and af­ter Brexit “there is likely to be con­sid­er­able un­cer­tainty as to the po­si­tion of the UK and the ar­range­ments which will ap­ply to its relationships with the EU”.

Rees-Mogg heads up the pow­er­ful Euro­pean Re­search Group of hard­line pro-Brexit MPs who ar­gue that the Bri­tish econ­omy will flour­ish once it leaves the Euro­pean sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union and con­cludes its own free-trade deals with third coun­tries.

Rees-Mogg is a non-ex­ec­u­tive chair at SCM and is paid £14,000 (16,000 euros, $19,000) a month for around 30 hours of work there, the re­ports said.

“The de­ci­sion to launch the fund was noth­ing what­so­ever to do with Brexit,” Rees-Mogg was quoted as say­ing by The Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per.

£1.1b for air­port ex­pan­sion:

Lon­don Gatwick Air­port an­nounced it was spend­ing £1.1 bil­lion on ex­pand­ing its fa­cil­i­ties over the next five years to ac­com­mo­date a growth in pas­sen­ger num­bers.

Gatwick is the eighth-busiest air­port in Europe and sits be­hind Mum­bai as the world’s busiest sin­gle-run­way air hub.

“Gatwick is a ma­jor piece of na­tional in­fra­struc­ture, and our con­tin­ued growth and abil­ity to at­tract long-haul air­lines is vi­tal for the health of the UK econ­omy, par­tic­u­larly in a post-Brexit world,” said the air­port’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Ste­wart Win­gate.

“By com­mit­ting to spend another £1.1 bil­lion, Gatwick can con­tinue to grow sus­tain­ably, at­tract new air­lines and of­fer more global con­nec­tions, while pro­vid­ing an ex­cel­lent ser­vice to pas­sen­gers.”

From De­cem­ber 2009 to the end of the new five-year in­vest­ment in 2023, the to­tal in­vest­ment fig­ure rises to £3.14 bil­lion.

Gatwick serves more than 228 des­ti­na­tions in 74 coun­tries for 45 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year. It pre­dicts that pas­sen­ger num­bers will hit nearly 53 mil­lion by 2023.

Vig­ils, prayers mark Gren­fell fire:

Sur­vivors of Lon­don’s Gren­fell Tower fire, and friends and rel­a­tives of the 71 peo­ple it killed, held vig­ils and prayed together as they marked the first an­niver­sary of a dis­as­ter that still haunts Bri­tain.

Gren­fell Tower, a so­cial hous­ing block that was home to a close-knit, eth­ni­cally di­verse com­mu­nity, was en­gulfed by flames in the mid­dle of the night of June 14, 2017, in the coun­try’s dead­li­est do­mes­tic fire since World War Two.

The dis­as­ter, which oc­curred in one of Lon­don’s rich­est bor­oughs, raised pro­found ques­tions over so­cial in­equal­i­ties, poor qual­ity pub­lic hous­ing and ne­glect of im­mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties.

Queen El­iz­a­beth and her new grand­daugh­ter-in-law Meghan, out together on an of­fi­cial visit to Ch­ester in north­west Eng­land, were among those who ob­served a na­tional si­lence in hon­our of the vic­tims at mid-day. (1100 GMT).

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