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Train Us For Ireland has hailed Tánaiste Leo Varadkar’s announcement of faster access to stamp 4 residency for non-EU doctors as “an historic step”.
The group, which has been campaigning for greater rights and training access for non-EU doctors in Ireland, said it was “very pleased” with the recent actions of the Department of Health and Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The group also thanked the Medical Independent (MI) and other media for their coverage of issues affecting international doctors.
In the Dáil yesterday, the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mr Varadkar confirmed that he was progressing reforms whereby non-EU doctors on general work permits will be eligible for stamp 4 after two, rather than five, years. MI reported on the planned changes on Monday in an exclusive online article https://www.medicalindependent.ie/non-eu-doctors-to-be-eligible-for-stamp-4-after-two-years/.
The Tánaiste, who acknowledged that non-EU doctors had not always been treated very well, said it was intended to implement the changes in a matter of weeks. He said such doctors made an “enormous” contribution to the Irish health service and had done a “phenomenal job” during the pandemic.
The reform is especially significant as stamp 4 holders are now considered equivalent to Irish/EU/UK candidates when applying for specialist training positions following a policy change announced by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly in September.
Most non-EU doctors have general employment permits, which currently allow them to apply for stamp 4 after five years. While doctors are eligible for critical skills permits – which facilitate an application for stamp 4 after two years – these permits require the offer of a minimum two-year contract and the HSE generally does not offer these terms to NCHDs.
Welcoming the Tánaiste’s announcement, Co-founder and President of Train Us For Ireland, Dr Liqa ur Rehman, noted: “We submitted an open letter signed by more than 600 doctors and TDs to relevant stakeholders and requested them to find a way for non-EEA doctors and their families to get stamp 4 earlier, as its delay causes huge family and social instability apart from career and training loss, and it is an actual driving force for brain drain of non-EEA doctors (42 per cent of the workforce) to neighbouring countries.”
Train Us For Ireland is one of a number of entities and individuals that have been campaigning for greater training access for non-EU doctors. Also heavily involved in highlighting these issues is paediatric doctor Dr Mohsin Kamal (@mohsinkamal169), Dr Syeda Amna Azim (@No2Discriminatn) and the international doctors group of the IMO.