Petition Offer Indefinite Leave to Remain to all NHS and social care workers
The Government should introduce legislation to offer non-UK NHS workers and social care workers automatic Indefinite Leave to Remain as they stay and risk their own lives and their families lives to look after the British people during the COVID -19 pandemic crisis.
The UK Govt has said it will extend the visas of those frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses and paramedics "so they can focus on fighting coronavirus", but this will only apply to around 5,000 NHS workers.
Doctors, nurses, paramedics and social care workers from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS and social care. The country owes them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do. So give right to stay.
This response was given on 17 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.
The Government recognises the significant contribution which health and care workers from overseas have made in tackling the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
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.
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.
Given the provisions which we have already put in place to support those working in the NHS and social workers, we do not intend to make a more general grant of ILR in the way the petition suggests.
At 100,000 signatures...
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament