Kenyan nurses and doctors may soon troop to the United Kingdom (UK) after a law capping on skilled worker visas excluded medics, engineers, IT professionals, teachers and other highly skilled workers.
The UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Friday announced relaxation of the tough immigration restrictions under the tier 2 visa route that has had an annual cap of 20,700 on skilled worker visas since 2011.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) Secretary General Ouma Oluga on Saturday welcomed the move noting that the UK may be the next frontier for the Kenyan medics.
“Kenya’s unwanted doctors may soon find their way to UK hospitals where our political leaders get treated when in need,” Oluga opined.
Although he welcomed the relaxation of Visa rules by the UK aimed at boosting staffing, the medical practitioners’ Secretary-General added that such mass emigration would not be “a good thing for Kenya’s Universal Healthcare” which forms one pillar of the Big Four Agenda.
KMPDU has remained adamant on government’s medical policies especially on the importation of Cuban specialist doctors who have since arrived in the country.
“My point is that Kenya will undo its own efforts with retention of doctors and nurses if we aren’t giving them an opportunity here in Kenya,” he concluded.
Oluga further indicated that Kenya was pushing doctors out of the system by continuously abusing them.
Githae Muriithi, an obstetrician and gynaecologist, added that it is sad that “Kenya does not value it’s own healthcare workers”.
In his view, when the government realizes the worth of its healthcare workers in the future, Kenya may be forced to conduct a skills repatriation exercise following a likely brain drain.
According to the Guardian, the UK Home Secretary had indicated that: “Doctors and nurses play a vital role in society and at this time we need more in the UK. That is why I have reviewed our skilled worker visa route. This is about finding a solution to increased demand and to support our essential national services.”