DAUK in the Guardian: Visa rules forcing migrant NHS workers to leave UK amid Covid second wave

Migrant healthcare workers are having to return to their countries of origin, potentially hampering Britain’s response to the second wave of coronavirus, after the expiry of visas to support the NHS, trade unions and charities have warned.

Unison has called on the government to stop forcing out key workers in the health and care sectors and to stop barring potential new ones from coming to work here.

Along with key workers forced to return to their home countries, many who are still in the UK are struggling to renew their visas due to delays and prohibitive costs and have become overstayers as a result, something which can further hamper their ability to renew their visas.

Unison says that the policy is having a serious impact during the second wave of the pandemic and at a time when there are 122,000 vacancies in the health and care sectors in England.

Doctors Association UK has called for indefinite leave to remain for migrant healthcare workers and raised concerns about visa processing delays.

It has drafted a letter, signed by 1,660 doctors and other healthcare workers protesting about the treatment of the Egyptian consultant cardiologist Dr Basem Enany, who became critically ill from Covid complications. Before he fell sick he had treated many patients at York hospital but he and his family fear for their future in the UK because the Home Office has not yet confirmed what will happen to them after Enany’s visa expires next month.

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