Petition Offer healthcare workers on tier2 visa ILR after 2 years instead of 5 years
Healthcare workers are meant to have lived in the UK for at least 5 years before they can apply for ILR. With the work they do and the demand for their skills world wide, they deserve to get residency status much quicker. Most healthcare workers are working under extreme pressure in the UK.
Many countries offer immediate residency status for occupations that are in high demand or extremely short. The UK has been a destination for most foreign nurses and doctors, it is time for the Government to show they care and also appreciate the workers by making some of the restrictions in terms of residency more favourable. This could also reduce the number of care workers leaving the country for other countries that offer better conditions.
This response was given on 13 February 2023
The Government recognises the vital contribution of overseas health 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 that health and social care workers from overseas have made to the level and quality of care the NHS provides.
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 the Health and Care visa which launched on 4 August 2020. 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 also benefits eligible workers in the UK, if they are extending their visa. This offer has been well received, with the latest immigration figures showing there is a sizeable uptake of this visa offer by the sector with 61,414 people being issued a visa: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2022/why-do-people-come-to-the-uk-to-work.
The Government announced on 30 January 2023, as part of the ‘delivery plan for recovering urgent and emergency care services’, that we would be relaxing the supplementary work rules. This will allow Health and Care visa holders to work more than 20 hours per week for an additional employer in health and social care should they wish without having to notify the Home Office.
Given the provision 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.
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