This is an example of many automated emails we received regarding Healthcare Staff and Immigration:
Dear Ms Siobhan Baillie MP,
I hope you and your family are safe and well.
Our health and social care staff have been on the frontline caring for us during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many are migrant workers, who have told UNISON that they have been left in a precarious position as their visas have come up for renewal during the crisis. This was recognised by the Home Office which announced that NHS workers whose visas were due to expire before 1 October would have them extended for a year free of charge so that those workers could ‘focus on fighting coronavirus’.
This is good news, but it only applies to around 3,000 workers. The vast majority of social care workers aren't included, and neither are healthcare assistants, hospital cleaners and porters – some of the lower paid staff in our NHS. This is deeply unfair – just like other staff they are playing a vital role fighting coronavirus and helping to provide safe, clean and comfortable care to our families.
They're looking after us. We must now look after them.
As you will know, the Immigration and Social Security Coordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill is currently making its way through Parliament.
The cross-party amendment NC17 led by Yvette Cooper MP seeks to ensure that all NHS and social care workers whose visas are due to expire before January 2021 can have their visas extended for one year for free.
Please will you use your voice and vote in Parliament to show our gratitude in a practical way to migrant workers in health and social care looking after our loved ones? The last thing our frontline workers need right now is worry and expense, and we desperately need these dedicated staff to keep fighting coronavirus in our care homes, hospitals and communities.
I urge you to give them a vote of thanks when the time comes, and vote for NC17.
Here is our standardised response:
Many thanks for your email and for making Siobhan aware of your concerns regarding health care staff and immigration. We are sorry for the delay in replying whilst assisting constituents during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Siobhan is currently on maternity leave and while she is still working on as many local matters as possible herself, as her office, we are also continuing to raise and represent the views of her constituents.
Please note that Siobhan usually provides full and personalised responses to all campaign issues raised. During her maternity leave she has however asked us to provide you with Government information so you are not waiting for a response. We have investigated and please note the following:
The Government has taken action to ensure the immigration system does not unduly infringe the ability of the NHS to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak. As part of the national effort to combat coronavirus, doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.
The Government has made sure that the extension is free and the immigration health surcharge will not have to be paid as part of this extension. Ministers are aware of the pressure frontline health workers are under at the current time and therefore recognise the need to make this process as easy as possible. It is good news that eligible staff do not need to apply for this extension.
If there is any specific action you would like us to take on this issue, please let us know. Also, if you would like to see Siobhan at a surgery appointment later in the year, or have a surgery appointment in the meantime with her office, we would be very happy to arrange this for you.
I hope you are keeping well. Our office is assisting constituents during the Covid 19 pandemic and if we can be of any assistance to you, please do let us know.