Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed a Government decision to allow its EU health workers to apply early for UK residency ahead of a national roll-out.
Thanks to a three week pilot, running from 29 November to 21 December 2018, NHS staff can apply for settled status, which allows permanent residency without on-going immigration restrictions. CUH will cover their fees of £65 each.
Alternatively staff can apply for pre-settled status, which provides EU nationals with a right to remain in the UK for five years, after which they can apply for settled status.
There is no obligation for staff to apply during the three week pilot – which also applies to social care and education sectors - and the scheme will be rolled out to the general population in March.
One in ten of the Trust’s staff is from the EU and it has, from the national referendum result, taken steps to support and reassure them.
This month it held a dedicated session on Brexit with an immigration specialist from the law firm Mills and Reeve. The event was part of an annual Cultural Diversity Day, backed by a staff support group. It welcomed latest overseas workers and celebrated the achievements of others over the last 12 months.
Director of workforce David Wherrett said: “We have more than 96 nationalities working at this hospital but we pull together as one family to treat our patients and give them the best possible care 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
“We think the public understand and appreciate the contribution our EU colleagues make and will agree that reimbursing the small fee to access the scheme to help retain the talent and mitigate against costly additional recruitment campaigns and training is an investment in the future of our hospitals.
“We have more legal updates with our immigration and employment specialists planned for staff, and will listen to feedback to see if there are other ways we can support our staff.”
Anyone interested in working for CUH, which recently announced a unique nursing apprentice scheme, can find details on its website.