Get to Know the “UK Fast-tracked” Visa Promise

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On November 11th, this Twitter post surfaced. It has also been making the rounds on other platforms such as WhatsApp. The post draws attention to an alleged new development in UK Visa application for health workers. Attached to the tweet are screenshots of a blog post by on the 9th of November.

What is the NHS?

The NHS (National Health System) is the largest single employer in the UK as it employs ‘over a million people, five per cent of the UK’s working population.’ It provides approximately 20,000 job opportunities monthly as it brings jobs advertisements from organizations within and outside the NHS.

NHS and UK Politics

Boris Johnson became the head of the Conservative Party (Tories)  in July 2019 after he won the party’s leadership elections with running mate Jeremy Hunt. As the UK general election approaches, the party will be heading to poll on December 12 with major contender Labour party. While the Labour party chose to improve women’s welfare in the country, the Tories chose to improve NHS.

Does the UK plan to fast-track visa applications for health workers?

Findings revealed that this new development in visa application for health workers in the UK – as in the tweet above – is just a political promise. 

As evidenced in this publication by Aljazeera, the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson based his announcement on Tories’ Plans for the NHS,  contingent on their victory in the forthcoming elections. 

Nonetheless, the success of this initiative would be beneficial for Doctors and Nurses outside the UK. Tories not only plans to slash visa costs for healthcare professionals from £928 ($1,190) to £464 ($590); but also guarantees decisions to visa applicants within two weeks!

Additionally, applicants would also be able to pay back the cost of the immigration health surcharge through their salary; if the charge is not already covered by the NHS trust offering the job.

Furthermore, an Economic Times publication added that the NHS Visa will be part of a new Points-Based Immigration System (PBIS).

The Brexit Conundrum

Brexit is the acronym for ‘British Exit’. The UK has been in the European Union -an economic and political union involving 28 European countries – since 1973. However, in 2016, Britain decided to exit- in a bid to regain control over immigration and its own borders. And since then, it has been a struggle to amicably negotiate a beneficial exit deal for Britain. 

We recall quondam Prime Minister (PM)- David Cameron- and his sudden resignation being premised around Brexit. Turns out the reason for his re-election was based on his promise of a referendum. His intention was to keep the UK in the EU after securing a deal that would give his country ‘special status’. He got in, and the referendum was held. However, the majority voted to leave the EU instead and this forced him to resign. 

“I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the EU. I made clear the referendum was about this, and this alone, not the future of any single politician, including myself.
But the British people made a different decision to take a different path. As such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction”

David Cameron

First came May then Johnson…

From the results of the referendum, it was clear that the people of the UK were ready to leave the EU. To this effect, another PM was elected- Theresa May- and tasked with guiding the UK through the lengthy negotiation process to leave the EU. She carried out her plans and finally got the EU countries to sign the withdrawal agreement. Afterwards, May presented the Brexit deal in front of parliament but was rejected. This, however, complicated the UK’s chance to withdraw from the EU which was slated for March 29th 2019. Theresa May, in the end, could not deliver Brexit and stepped down, saying she had done her best and regretted not being able to deliver Brexit. 

This brings us to current PM- Boris’ Johnson. Boris’ propaganda was to deliver Brexit– by October 31- where his predecessors failed. This did not happen though.  And as a result,  the deadline was extended to January 31st. This was after Johnson reluctantly requested for an extension, having said he’d rather be “dead in a ditch” than agree to an extension. 

We’ll have to wait and see

Having taken a trip down the field of broken Brexit promises, is it safe to bet on Tories delivering the NHS visa? We will just have to wait and see. And of course, this is all contingent on their success at the polls- come December 12.

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