Hospitals offer to pay for new visas to keep EU staff after Brexit

One chief executive said; “Regardless of Brexit, we want you to stay with us.” 

Matt Bodell
3 November 2018
Brexit

Hospitals are offering to foot the bill for thousands of EU nurses wanting to stay in the UK post-Brexit.

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust are amongst a flurry of trusts that have offered to foot the bill for their much-needed nurses to apply for “settled status”.

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Professor Marcel Levi, chief executive of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has written to almost 1,300 staff offering to cover the cost, telling them; “Regardless of Brexit, we want you to stay with us.” 

The Home Office is offering health and social care workers the chance to apply for its EU Settlement Scheme from 29 November 2018 – four months earlier than applications open to the general public.

If granted “settled status” it will grant them unrestricted rights to remain in the UK.

EU citizens who have been in the UK for less than five years can apply for “pre-settled status”. The deadline for application is June 2021.

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Each application will costs £65.

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41,000 unfilled nursing vacancies.

The Royal College of Nursing estimates that there are around 41,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in England with around 8,000 of these being in London. A further drop in the number of student nurses could lead to this number increasing in the coming years.

The college has warned that EU staff must stay otherwise the NHS faces a ‘Brexit disaster’.

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Applications from EU nurses to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council register dropped by nearly 90% after the vote on Brexit.

A spokesman for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said; “This is the right thing to do for our EU staff who are a vital part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and is also a cost effective way to support staff retention,”

“Like all our staff, EU colleagues are valued members of our team who make an enormous contribution to the services we provide every day.”

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented on Twitter: “We are covering the costs of EU staff applying for settled status. Our 1,000+ EU staff are highly valued, and make an enormous contribution to the services we provide every day.”

It is expected the offer will be also be extended by other NHS trusts in England.

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