Dentists join exodus as one in five Ukrainians return home

Dentists join exodus as one in five Ukrainians in south east return home

A dentist is among the one in five Ukrainians in the south east who are opting to return home, prompting concerns over barriers to secure work and accommodation for refugees.

A BBC investigation reveals that one fifth of Ukrainians who arrived in Surrey, Kent and Sussex as part of a government visa scheme have returned to Ukraine.

By 23 January this year, the south east welcomed almost 12,800 refugees under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Surrey welcomed the most Ukrainians under the scheme, followed by Kent. West and East Sussex are within the top 10.

However, figures show that 20% of those arrivals have since returned to Ukraine.

‘A long, hard look’

Conservative MP for North Thanet Sir Roger Gale told the BBC that many returnees were ‘professional people’ whose qualifications were not easily recognised in the UK, leaving them unable to work.

This included one of his constituents, a dentist with 16 years experience in Ukraine. They now want to return back to Ukraine.

Sir Roger said: ‘We need to take a long, hard look at the qualifications that people have got and how we can allow them to use those skills to our advantage and their advantage.’

Provisional registration

This comes as plans to allow international dentists to work in the UK without taking the overseas registration exam (ORE) are being considered by the government.

The proposed plan – which is subject to a three-month consultation – comes amidst the growing shortage of NHS dental provision.

In a release on 16 February, the government proposed to enable overseas-qualified dentists who have not yet achieved full GDC registration to be able to work in the UK more quickly through the introduction of a system of provisional registration.

Provisional registration would allow an overseas-qualified dentist to practise in any dental setting, including high street dental practices, under the supervision of a dentist who has full registration on GDC’s dentists register.

The consultation details read: ‘While it is completely appropriate that all dentists should have to demonstrate that they meet the high standards required to safely practise dentistry unsupervised in the UK, the government believes it should be possible for overseas-qualified dentists to be able to register to practise in some form before they have managed to achieve full registration with GDC.’

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