Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine has called on the government to grant Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) to all health and social care staff.
The move would ‘be a small way to recognise and celebrate the enormous contributions that people from all over the world make to our NHS and to our society’. The health and social care workforce have played an indispensable role in keeping the country running over the lockdown period, and have been widely commended and appreciated for risking their own safety in order to protect others.
The MP for Edinburgh West said that the government ‘has not yet done enough either for those born and brought up in this country or for those who have come here to work, for all those working in our NHS for the past year, there must surely be more recognition and thanks for putting themselves in harms way’.
She followed up by paying tributes to the immense efforts of NHS and care staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, stating that ‘it is time we recognised properly the contributions that have been made’.
The calls to reward overseas key workers for their invaluable work in recent months are nothing new. Back in May, the government performed a u-turn on their decision to continue to subject overseas NHS workers to the Immigration Health Surcharge, an annual levy paid by all persons without British Citizenship.
Critics pointed out that it was unjust for those who spend their day-to-day lives keeping the NHS running, to have to pay to use it themselves, particularly in light of the heroic efforts made during the pandemic.
Jardine also spoke about the government’s one-year visa extension for approximately 3,000 health and care staff with visas due to expire before 1 October, stating:
“But why just 3,000 why just for a year? Why not everyone, why not indefinitely?
The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency, put themselves at risk, might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.
And have we asked ourselves what will happen to the standard of care in this country if they’re forced to leave?
Where will we find the staff we need, the doctors, nurses, porters, care home workers if another wave hits and thousands of our valuable workforce have been forced to leave because we did not have the foresight, the compassion to help them to stay.
This country, all of us will be the losers, our colleagues, our friends, our family.”
How we can help
If you’re concerned about how to secure your long-term future in the UK, the Immigration Advice Service is here to help.
Get in contact with our client care team today on 0333 305 9375 for immediate advice and guidance. We are specialists in ILR and British Citizenship applications and would be delighted to assist you. We are located across the UK, in areas including Manchester, Birmingham and London.
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