Home Office must give front line workers certainty over right to stay

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to automatically extend all visas beyond the end of May and to give all NHS and social care workers indefinite leave to remain, following the Home Office’s announcement today of one-year visa extensions for certain health and care staff.

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, SNP, Green and Alliance MPs for their campaign to grant indefinite leave to remain to foreign nationals working in the NHS during the coronavirus crisis.

The party had also called last week for care workers and allied health professionals to be granted visa extensions in line with the changes for NHS workers, a change the Home Office has announced today.

Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care Spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

“I’m glad the Government is finally recognising the enormous contributions of foreign nationals, not only in our NHS but also social care workers and other health professionals on the frontline of this pandemic. It is the least they could do.

“The coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented threat, and we owe enormous thanks to all the NHS staff, social care workers and other health professionals are who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us and our loved ones safe.”

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

“This announcement is welcome, but a one-year extension simply isn’t enough, especially given the Home Secretary’s inability to give any clarity about who exactly it applies to. And thousands of other people, including many working on the frontline, are not covered at all by this announcement and face their visas expiring in just a few weeks.

“The Home Office must extend everyone’s visas until this crisis is over. Forcing people to leave the country in June would be impractical and inhumane.“And all health and social care workers on the frontline of this crisis must be given indefinite leave to remain. It should be unthinkable that any of them would be forced to leave the country after their service to it.”