Closed petition Reduce the minimum time required for ILR to 3 years for non-UK NHS workers

The Government should reduce the minimum time requirement for Indefinite Leave to remain for non-british NHS workers, as is already the case for some other Categories where the continuous period is less than 5 years.

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Currently, the minimum time required for non-UK NHS workers to apply for ILR is 5 years. There are some categories where the minimum time period is 3 years. It would be a good gesture from the UK towards overseas NHS workers.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 12 February 2021

The Government recognises the vital contribution of overseas NHS workers but to qualify for ILR a person must meet various requirements including a substantial period in their sponsored occupation.

Read the response in full

The Government recognises the significant contribution which health and care workers from overseas have made in tackling the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

However, Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is based on several requirements, including a period of lawful residence in the UK without excess absences, sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK, and any specific requirements of the visa route a person is on. The standard requirement of 5 years to achieve settlement is based on applicants building up ties and an ongoing commitment to the UK.

In sponsored work routes, settlement relies on applicants having worked in their sponsored job for 5 years. Other requirements, such as being able to demonstrate an adequate level of English, are important in ensuring people can properly integrate into the community. We consider being able to integrate is an important element of settlement. Whilst there are limited circumstances where people may apply for accelerated settlement, these are unsponsored routes such as Global Talent. Most routes leading to settlement require an individual to have been in the UK on an eligible route for at least 5 years, as we believe this represents an appropriate period of time for people to build ties to the UK.

The Home Office introduced several unprecedented measures over recent months to ensure these individuals are supported, including the Health and Care visa which launched on 4 August. This delivers and builds upon the Government’s commitment to introduce a route which makes it quicker, easier and significantly cheaper for eligible people working in health and social care to come to the UK with their families. It will also benefit eligible workers in the UK, if they are extending their visa.

We have also extended the visas of more than 6,000 health professionals, and their eligible dependants, working for the NHS and independent health and care providers. This 12-month extension applied to eligible health workers whose visas expired between 31 March and 1 October 2020, to enable them to focus on fighting the pandemic. This extension was free of charge and included an exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). As announced on 20 November, we renewed our visa extension offer for eligible health professionals and their family dependants, in view of the increased volumes of those testing positive for the virus within the UK population and the re-introduction of restrictions. This offer is open to anyone subject to UK immigration control, working in the relevant professions whose visa expires between 1 October 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Given the provisions which we have already put in place, and the importance of people being able to integrate, we do not intend to change the period of time for people to achieve ILR.

Home Office