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My Bill to give coronavirus heroes the right to stay. Christine Jardine

September 6, 2020 7:08 PM
Originally published by Chesterfield Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats are fighting to give NHS and care staff from other countries the right to stay in the UK.

Like the rest of our wonderful NHS and care staff, hundreds of thousands of people from other countries are on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, putting themselves in harm's way to make sure we get the care we need.

We cannot thank them enough for the brave and tireless work they are doing in such difficult circumstances and under such intense pressure.

The Government has announced a one-year visa extension for around 3,000 health and care staff with visas due to expire before 1st October. However, this excludes many of those on the front lines, such as hospital porters, cleaners and social care workers.

Even those who are included will be forced to renew their visas next year - at a cost of around £700 per person - or leave the country. That's not good enough.

The UK should say, loudly and unequivocally, that those who have put their lives at risk for our country are welcome to live in it.

The idea that anyone who has worked so hard to save lives during this emergency might one day be forced to leave should be unthinkable.

That's why the Liberal Democrats are fighting to give all NHS and care staff from other countries the right to stay in the UK.

And today, I'm tabling a Private Members' Bill to grant them and their families the right to settle here without the costs or bureaucratic hurdles that usually involves.

We've already secured support from MPs of other parties for our proposal, and I really hope the Government will back my Bill.

It would be a small way to recognise and celebrate the enormous contributions that people from all over the world make to our NHS - and to our society, our economy and our communities more broadly.