When I heard a bunch of doctors were involved in the UK terror attacks, my initial take was: “it’s the visa, stupid”.

Doctors and caregivers are not as tightly screened as ordinary students, since I guess they figure that altruism is not compatible with murder.

Western countries need doctors. They don’t train enough of them, and so they hire cheaper “workers” from overseas.

Every once in awhile the press laments the “brain drain”, but the dirty little secret about the “brain drain” is that there are often no well paying jobs locally, or the jobs open are in clinics without labs or x rays, so you are essentially a nurses’ aide giving out simple medication.

So if you are a dedicated doctor, you may prefer using your skills in Fargo, N.D. rather than working long hours doing basic medicine in an isolated clinic far from your home with people who speak a different language and receiving a poor salary.

Here in the Philippines, small nursing schools advertise that their graduates have found work in Saudi, the UK and Canada. Indeed, some doctors here are retraining to get a nurses degree, since if you are a doctor you have to take a difficult exam, and then retake your post graduate training (with a small salary) before practicing, but being a nurse gives you a nice salary right away.

There’s a lot of corruption in the OFW (overseas foreign workers) programs, including fake visas and counterfeit documents to get real visas.

Yesterday I noted a scam for false documents to get visas to the UK. When I scanned the web, I found similar stories in Indian news papers.Such things happen all the time. Last year here there was widespread cheating scam to pass the nurses’ examination, and as a result the US wouldn’t hire any nurses who took that exam (my relatives finally retook the exam in Hong Kong and passed, and are now in the US).

Most of those involved are merely trying to make a buck off of poor people who can’t pass their exams but want to work to support their families.

But it doesn’t take much imagination to see Alqaeda recruiting doctors and supplying false papers if they can’t pass the difficult exams in order to put them in place. An ideal place for a mole.

Indeed, giving the time involved in placing these “moles” it suggests that the bombing was in the plans a year ago. And one doesn’t need to be a former spook to think that maybe the US is the next target.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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