Here at Lisa’s Law, we feel very passionately about the NHS and all the people who work within it. The UK is so fortunate to have a healthcare system as strong and open as the NHS, especially during such times as we find ourselves in now. Without all of the hard-work, selfless dedication and sacrifices NHS staff make every day, the UK would be in a much weaker position to handle the effects of COVID-19, and all the other illnesses and ailments people face in their lives.
NHS staff are there to look after us, so our government should be looking after them.
The Home Office has announced that NHS workers and their family members will be entitled to 1 year free visa extensions, a policy brought in as a response to the increased demands due to COVID-19.
However, we recently enquired with the Home Office regarding a client, Mrs Lin, who works for the NHS as a midwife. We were surprised to find that her husband is not eligible for the free visa extension, simply because she is British.
This is completely unfair.
No care for the carers
It is outrageous that the Home Office will not grant Mr Lin the free visa extension solely because he is married to a British woman. He meets all other requirements, such as the English language test and combined salary threshold. This is the only thing preventing him from having his visa extended for free.
Surely the Home Office should value all NHS workers, and not discriminate against them; they are sacrificing so much in such difficult circumstances. It is an illogical double standard which should be eradicated.
We spoke to Mr Lin to get his perspective on the situation. He said:
“We feel extremely let down by the Home Office. The NHS staff are saving people’s lives every day, but it seems the government does not appreciate that. Nurses do not get paid a large amount of money for doing such a tough job, but my wife and I are still expected to pay high rates for my visa extension when many other NHS employees do not have to, simply because my wife is British.”
The fee for a spouse visa extension is high. The Home Office charges each spouse visa applicant £1,033 pounds for the visa application, an extra £1,000 for the immigration health surcharge for 2 and a half years, plus £19.20 for the biometric enrolment.
This comes to a total of £2,052.20. A very high price for many families in the UK, especially when so many others are getting the extension for free.
Mr Lin also highlighted the impact the decision has had on him and his wife’s mental health:
“My wife is having awful trouble trying to sleep now because she is so worried. We have a son to look after, who I take care of in lockdown. We wonder who would look after him if I am not around. We are all so stressed about it, as the extension fees are very high for a regular family like us. Our friends and family also cannot understand the government’s decision.”
There are many who will find themselves in this same situation, being penalised by the government simply because their partners are NHS workers but not also migrants. So many will be forced to pay large fees, or even leave the country due to the Home Office’s negligent treatment of this group.
What do we think about this?
We hate to see people put in negative situations through no fault of their own, and we pride ourselves on finding a route to justice wherever we can. That is why we have started a petition to make dependants of British NHS staff eligible for the free 1 year visa extension.
The petition is as follows:
Equal visa rights for family members of British and non-British NHS workers
The government has announced that dependants of NHS workers are eligible for a free 1 year extension on their visas. Currently, such concession only applies to migrant NHS workers who are also applying. We believe it should be extended to the dependants of all NHS workers, both British and migrants.
One NHS, one treatment to all NHS workers. Nobody working in the NHS should have to worry about their dependants visas at this time. Their sacrifices and hard work are vital. They should all have the full support of the government.
If you also believe what the government is doing is wrong, please support us by signing the above petition.
Stand together and we will make them change it.
Have a similar story, or want to get in touch? Call us!
If you need legal assistance, why not download our free app today? You can launch a new enquiry, scan over documents and much more.
If you have an iPhone, follow this link to download.
If you use an Android phone, follow this link to download.
Find the link here if you need some further instructions on how to use our new app!