We The Doctors’ Association UK and the undersigned, wish to urgently bring to your attention the concerns of our colleagues regarding the treatment of a UK doctor who has been unfairly victimised by the Home Office. We believe his unjust treatment is a direct result of the indiscriminate immigration caps currently affecting tier 2 migrants.
Dr. Nnaemeka Chidumije was employed as a junior doctor undertaking core surgical training until this year and has completed a significant part of his postgraduate medical training here in the UK. Having worked with him for some 18 months, his colleagues adamantly testify to the strength of his character and devotion to his work, both of which were apparent in the exemplary care he consistently provided to his patients in Cumbria and the North East of England. Suffice it to say, he was an invaluable asset to his team and the NHS, and the passion for his job was at once self evident and inspiring.
In February 2018 following the separation from his British wife, Dr. Chidumije was advised by the Home Office to return to Nigeria to apply for conversion of his spousal visa to the tier 2 highly skilled migrant category. However, his subsequent visa application has been inexplicably rejected four times, resulting in the premature suspension of his training as an NHS surgeon and his career being arrested. Despite completing all required competencies and excelling in his work, he is at imminent risk of losing his training number.
The NHS has rightfully invested heavily in the training of this doctor, given his dedication and considerable natural ability. Our immigration policy is failing to recognise this contribution of the future potential of this exceptional individual, thus actively contributing to denying patients the fruits of his labour. Mr Mike Bradburn, Head of the School of Surgery, shares our frustration at the waste of talent and impact on this individual, and our concerned colleagues have contacted the office of Mr Ian Mearns MP as well the MP for Dr, Chidumije’s constituency to bring this to their attention.
We implore you to intervene in this case urgently to ensure Dr. Chidumije is fairly treated and that we do not lose such a valuable professional at a time when his department and the NHS is short staffed.
Dr. Neil Tiwari, MBBS, MRCEM, Core Anaesthetics Trainee, Hereford County Hospital, HerefordCo-Editor, The Doctors’ Association UK
Dr. Ehsanul Karim Choudhury, MBBS, BSc (Hons) Core Surgical Trainee, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland.
Dr. Harry Tustin, MRCS (ENT), MBBS, BSc (Hons)Core Surgical Trainee, The Freeman Hospital, Newcastle-Upon- Tyne
---------------------------------Statement by Dr. Chidumije :
27th May 2018
I am an international medical graduate who has contributed positively to the NHS since moving to the United Kingdom in 2013. After graduating from Medical School in Ukraine in 2011, I returned briefly to Nigeria to complete my internship before moving to the United Kingdom.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne has been my home since 2013. I have loved living, working and training as a surgeon in the North East and Cumbria. Unfortunately, this has been interrupted by personal circumstances and the effect of visa caps on Tier 2 visa allocations by the Home Office.
After separation from my ex-partner, I wrote to the Home Office as required by law because I was on a spousal visa. My employer (Health Education North East and Cumbria) advised that they would apply for a certificate of sponsorship from the Home Office to enable me to continue my training and employment. My spousal visa was curtailed in March of 2018. I was required to leave the United Kingdom and re-apply for a Tier 2 visa from my home country of (Nigeria) which I did.
Since February of 2018, the overseas sponsorship team from Health Education England have applied to the Home Office every month for a certificate of sponsorship which has been refused, the last one in May 2018. This has since affected my training and my employment. While my training has been put on hold, my employment has been terminated as I do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom at the moment.
The Home Office has responded in the press saying that the Tier 2 visas are restricted and if applicants are refused, they should apply again. An application has been made 4 times by my employer and all were refused as the points needed to have a certificate of sponsorship issued by the Home Office has changed every month and has been decided in secret. I feel that this is unfair, and this has had a negative impact on me as I am unable to return to the job I love and the place I now call home. There has not been a consideration of the fact that I am already employed and in a recognized training programme in the NHS. My post in the NHS is one of many vacant positions in the NHS contributing to a staffing crisis.
I ask that this is kindly looked into favourably as a matter of urgency.
Nnaemeka Chidumije MD, MRCSEd.Core Surgical Trainee, Queen Elizabeth NHS Trust, Gateshead.