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BVA responds to new immigration rules
The new system will allocate additional ponts for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List.
Concerns system will place ’significant administrative burden’ on practices

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has responded to the government’s new immigration rules that will see freedom of movement replaced by an employer-led, points-based system.

BVA president Daniella Dos Santos said the new system could place ‘a significant administrative burden’ on veterinary practices, which will be required to sponsor recruits from overseas. Currently, over half of new entrants on the UK veterinary register come from outside the UK, with a significant number coming from the EU via freedom of movement.

The new system will allocate additional points for occupations on the Shortage Occupation List. Following a sustained campaign by the BVA, RCVS and others, veterinary surgeons were added to the Shortage Occupation List in 2019.

The BVA has also successfully lobbied for the introduction of post-study work visas, which will help to retain vets from overseas who have qualified in the UK, but previously would not have been able to work here.

Ms Dos Santos said: “The UK veterinary profession is hugely reliant on overseas vets in order to deliver animal health and welfare, safeguard public health, and ensure the UK can trade animals and animal products.

“The government’s blueprint for trade will require a massive boost to the veterinary workforce to deliver veterinary certification not only for exports but, as announced last week, also for imports. This new immigration system leaves a big question mark over whether we’ll be able to fill the workforce gap created by the end of free movement when we are already struggling to recruit and retain vets.”
 
She continued: “We’re pleased that our campaign to secure vets onto the Shortage Occupation List will be rewarded under the new system and we’re delighted that post-study work visas will be available for vets who graduate from our world-class vet schools. But we don’t know if this will be enough, and we remain concerned that an employer-led system places a significant financial and bureaucratic burden on vet practices, many of which are SMEs.
 
“We’re keen to work with Defra and the Home Office to do all we can to support vets to get ready for the introduction of the new system.”

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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News Shorts
LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk