BMA responds to case of GP trainee facing deportation

By agency reporter
April 10, 2018

The BMA has called the government’s decision to deport a GP trainee because of a delay in his visa process “utterly incomprehensible”.

Dr Luke Ong, who is from Singapore but who studied and trained to be a GP in Britain, faces being told to leave the country if the Home Office wins an appeal against an earlier decision by an immigration judge to let him stay.

Dr Ong was three weeks late applying to renew his visa because he says no appointments were available before it expired.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said, “This situation, in which a doctor who has committed the last ten years of his life studying, training and serving in the NHS faces deportation over what appears to be an honest oversight, beggars belief at a time when the government is prepared to spend millions recruiting GPs from abroad.  

“The government knows there is a serious shortage of GPs in England, with too few medical students opting for the specialism, while experienced doctors reduce their hours or retire early – something which is having a negative effect on patient care. The Home Office must therefore move away from this hostile culture and any approach to immigration rules for doctors needs to be flexible and – ultimately – practical. For them to seemingly take such a strict stand in this case is utterly incomprehensible.”

Dr Ong said, "At a time when the NHS is struggling to train and recruit GPs, I find it absolutely ridiculous that I am on the cusp of becoming a GP, but potentially facing deportation if the Home Office press ahead with their appeal. I have given the best years of my life to the NHS, toiling relentlessly through nights and weekends for many years, paying my taxes and contributing to wider society – sadly all this counts for nothing, and the Home Office are now treating me as an illegal immigrant, having confiscated my passports and University Degree.

"Any other country would be happy to have a doctor work for their health service, especially somebody who is locally trained, but here I face endless persecution by the Home Office, having to suffer the indignity of being treated like an unwanted intruder, despite having lived here since September 2007. I am broken, and I don't know how much longer I can take this."

* Read more about Dr Ong's case here

* British Medical Association


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