A number of London trusts have stated that they will cover the cost of their EU staff applying for settled status post-Brexit.
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (GSTT); St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation (UCLH) have announced that they will pay for their EU staff settled status to allow them to continue to work in the UK once it leaves the EU.
In July, the Home Office announced that EU citizens living in the UK will be able to apply for settled status, allowing them to remain and work in the country after 31 December 2020. The application process will start from 29 November for employees working in the healthcare sector.
In a letter dated 25 October, UCLH chief executive Professor Marcel Levi said that the trust’s fundamental concern is to support EU staff as ‘key staff’.
He wrote: ‘Regardless of Brexit, we want you to stay with us at UCLH.
‘The scheme has an application fee of £65 and UCLH will afford the application costs for any member of staff who chooses to apply. This will be taxable but in partial recognition of that we will reimburse at £85 in gross salary terms.’
According to Professor Levi, the trust has around 1,280 staff from Europe and Ireland.
Although UCLH could not confirm the final cost, as the ‘scheme has only just opened’, it could end up costing the organisation £108,800, according to a spokesperson.
A recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that 26% of midwives in UCLH alone are EU citizens.
This compares to 19% for GSTT, 18% for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and 15% for St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
GSTT, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also confirmed this week that they will cover the fees for applying for settled or pre-settled status for their respective 2,000; 1,500; and 1,200 EU staff.
A GSTT spokesperson told Healthcare Leader: ‘Like all our staff, EU colleagues are valued members of our team who make an enormous contribution to the services we provide every day.
‘This is the right thing to do for our EU staff who are a vital part of GSTT and is also a cost effective way to support staff retention.’
In September, doctor’s representative body the Royal College of Physicians warned that employing international healthcare staff in a post-Brexit UK could cost the NHS up to £490m a year within three years, if the same charges were applied to workers from the European Economic Area.