Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Campaign response – An amendment that can really show our gratitude

My thanks to the constituents who have written to me concerning the future visa status of NHS and care workers from abroad, whom like their UK counterparts continues to play a key role in helping our health and social care systems combat the spread of Covid-19.

They have been making incredible sacrifices in the course of our response to this deadly virus and their valiant efforts to save lives and care for the sick have not gone unnoticed. As Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Health Secretary I have been supporting ministers in their efforts to recognise and reward these frontline workers.

The Prime Minister, who contracted Covid-19, has himself thanked the two nurses from Portugal and New Zealand, for their care of him while he was hospitalised.

This was followed by his much welcomed announcement at the Despatch Box that all health and social care workers are to be exempted from the Immigration Health Surcharge (HIS) as soon as possible – something that I have long been supportive of and have asked ministers to consider.

Constituents asked if I would support Yvette Cooper NC17 amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Bill.

This amendment is unfortunately not in the scope of the bill and is therefore highly unlikely to be considered by MPs in the next stage of the bill’s progress through the Commons.

This is because the bill primarily relates to our leaving of the EU and the ending of the EU doctrine of free movement, as opposed to setting the rules for our future immigration system.

However the substance of Yvette Cooper’s amendment is one has received much cross-party support and as PPS I will be sure to feed back to the Department of Health and Social Care the points that constituents have made on the importance of ensuring that our NHS and social care workers from abroad can continue to stay in the UK and contribute.