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Britain said Thursday it is easing visa rules to address a shortage of doctors and also encourage tech entrepreneurs as it prepares a new post-EU immigration system, an issue that drove the Brexit vote.
Prime Minister Theresa May's government said doctors and nurses working in the state-run National Health Service (NHS) would be excluded from an annual cap on skilled workers from outside the European Union.
May - Cap - Minister - Demands - Healthcare
May introduced the cap in 2010 when she was interior minister but has faced growing demands from the healthcare sector to review it due to a shortage of staff that has left hundreds of NHS posts unfilled.
The annual limit of 20,700 on all non-EU skilled workers, broken down into monthly quotas, has been breached every month since December.
Medical - Journal - Doctors - Job - Offers
The British Medical Journal says this has led to more than 1,500 doctors with job offers being refused visas in recent months.
Many fear the shortages will only become worse when Britain leaves the European Union and the bloc's citizens lose their automatic right to work in the UK.
Nationals - Percent - Doctors - Percent - Nurses
EU nationals currently make up almost 10 percent of doctors and seven percent of nurses, according to a parliamentary report.
May has promised to end EU freedom of movement after Brexit, but she has yet to publish her plans for a new immigration system.
Migration - Britain - World
She wants migration controlled but says Britain should also attract the "best and the brightest" from around the world.
To that effect, on Wednesday the government announced a new "start-up" visa for technology entrepreneurs, which will replace a visa route that was previously only open to graduates.
Promise - Influx - EU - Migration - Britain
The promise of ending the huge influx of EU migration into Britain in recent years was a key element of the campaign for Brexit, and remains a central issue for many voters.
"They are not against all migration, but they want a sense that we can...
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