Shabana has written to the Home Secretary on behalf of migrant NHS workers.
The letter follows after a constituent wrote to Shabana expressing his concern for the families of those working on the frontline during the Covid-19 pandemic. The constituent migrated from Nigeria to the UK two years ago and works for the NHS on a Tier 2 visa, living with his pregnant wife as a dependant.
The constituent was concerned that should his life be lost working for the NHS, his pregnant wife or future child will be deported from the UK.
Shabana has appealed to the Home Secretary to guarantee the rights of families of migrant health workers to remain in the UK should their partners die in service to the NHS.
You can read her letter in full below.
Letter to the Home Secretary
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing regarding the status of migrants working in the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.
I have recently been contacted by a doctor who lives in my Birmingham Ladywood constituency. My constituent informs me that he migrated from Nigeria to the UK two years ago and works for the NHS on a Tier 2 visa. I understand that his wife lives as his dependent, and has since received the news that she is pregnant.
My constituent is currently working on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic, playing his part in ensuring the NHS provides first-rate care to patients in Birmingham. He understands the risks of contracting the coronavirus as he attends to patients affected by the illness, but feels duty-bound to continue his work to help us defeat the virus. My constituent refers to his concerns that colleagues are contracting the virus, and refers to the terrible news of those who are dying in service to the NHS.
I understand my constituent is concerned that should the unthinkable happen, and his life is lost working on the frontline against Covid-19, his pregnant wife or future child will be deported from the UK.
This pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for our public health. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic is one of incomparable responsibility for the Government, with policy decisions made by Ministers swiftly to address the crisis. I was pleased when the Government announced that doctors, nurses and paramedics with visas due to expire will have them automatically extended for one year. However, I do not believe this action goes far enough.
In light of the extraordinary contributions that migrant workers are making to the NHS, and to the national response to Covid-19, I believe it is only right that we repay their tireless commitment with safety and security for their families living in the UK. In a time where migrant NHS workers are already under extreme pressure, we should seek to immediately eliminate their anxieties regarding the immigration status of their dependants.
I appeal to you to guarantee the rights of families of migrant health workers to remain in the UK should their partners die in service to the NHS.
Shabana Mahmood MP
Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood