As the UK begins to navigate life on lockdown, the concerns and uncertainties of the nation are rife. Yet, in the midst of it all, there is an abundance of community spirit and invaluable support networks; a light at the end of (what may feel like) a never-ending tunnel.
With some supermarkets dedicating specific hours to NHS staff, the elderly and immunocompromised individuals – giving them the opportunity to acquire necessary supplies with significantly reduced risk – we have seen, once again, that the importance of kindness and compassion cannot be understated.
With this in mind, our friends at the Immigration Advice Service (IAS) – an organisation of immigration lawyers which provides free legal advice and support to both asylum seekers and domestic abuse survivors – have taken it upon themselves to give back to those on the frontline of the pandemic; the nation’s exceptional, selfless NHS staff.
‘Our NHS staff work tirelessly around the clock and run directly into the arms of danger to keep us all safe on a daily basis. The last thing that should be troubling them is their immigration status’
During this troubling time, IAS is offering free legal immigration advice to all NHS staff until further notice, providing assistance to those who require help with any immigration query – no matter how big or small.
Guidance can be delivered via Skype/video call or telephone consultations, and IAS hopes this will reassure and provide solace to those who were perhaps due to extend or renew their immigration permission in the UK during this already stressful time.
Announcing the decision yesterday, the IAS wrote: ‘Our NHS staff work tirelessly around the clock and run directly into the arms of danger to keep us all safe on a daily basis. The last thing that should be troubling them is their immigration status, especially when in the trenches of the Covid-19 battle.’
IAS has extended its typical working hours, now operating from 7:00am – 22:00pm each and every day
With around 153,000 NHS staff across England reporting a non-British nationality, this suggests that a substantial number of our health workers are migrants, and therefore rely on immigration permission to reside and work in the UK.
In a post-Brexit era, this poses significant challenges for migrants – particularly EU nationals – as free movement is due to come to an end on 31st December 2020. It is estimated that around 65,000 EU nationals work for the NHS, and these dedicated individuals are already stretched to their limits as it is.
Guidance can be delivered via Skype/video call or telephone consultations
The NHS is continuously under mounting pressure thanks to a decade of government cuts to funding and resources – not to mention overworked, underpaid staff, many of whom would be considered ‘low-skilled’ under the government’s points-based (and salary focused) immigration system.
At a time of immense uncertainty and apprehension, the last thing key workers need is to be faced with the looming threat of an expired visa and all that comes with it.
As of yet, the UK government has not issued any guidance regarding the potential for automatic extension of immigration visas/permission, therefore it is vital that those who are due to renew or extend their current permission do so as soon as possible.
Those working for the NHS are able to turn to IAS’ team of OISC-accredited immigration experts for free, comprehensive legal advice on issues such as:
- Visa extension or renewal advice on Tier 2 Work Visas
- Indefinite Leave to Remain applications
- British citizenship applications – including by naturalisation
In addition to this, IAS has extended its typical working hours, now operating from 7:00am – 22:00pm each and every day.
Here at ImmiNews, we are thrilled to promote immigration lawyers who are committed to providing such invaluable services at such a precarious time.
If you or anybody that you know works for the NHS and would benefit from IAS’ free immigration advice at this time, please give their client care team a call on 0333 305 9375.