Workforce is a crucial issue in rural England in terms of health and care – this is a powerful story in this context.
A cross-party group of MPs is calling on the government to make provisions for everyone working in the NHS or social care during the pandemic to be given the automatic right to stay in the UK.
MPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, Green Party, Plaid Cymru, the DUP, SDLP and Alliance have written to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House with responsibility for the government’s parliamentary timetable, urging him to grant time to debate and pass a bill giving health and social care workers indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Earlier this year, health workers were offered a free extension of their visas if it was due to expire before October 2020. Those whose visas expire after that date “are already being forced to choose between paying to renew their visas or leaving the country”, the MPs write.
The bill, presented by Christine Jardine from the Liberal Democrats with cross-party support, was due to be debated in parliament earlier this month, but has been postponed until next year due to a government move to push back all private member’s bills. These MPs are calling on the government to allow time for the bill to be debated and passed in government time, as soon as possible.
Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrat MP who has proposed the bill with cross-party support, said: "So many of the people who have kept the NHS going through this crisis are now at risk of losing their jobs thanks to the Home Office's heartless refusal to extend their right to work here in the UK. The last thing we need right now is to lose yet more valuable NHS and care staff, but this is what we will see if the Home Office do not change course.