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Support for our EU staff

Posted: 28 November 2018
Communications Team

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Photo credit: © Jess Hurd

We are pleased to announce that the trust has agreed to pay the application fee for settlement status for substantive staff from EU countries. Settled status will allow EU staff to continue to live and work here after 31 December 2020 and the trust’s gesture provides assurance that our EU staff are a hugely valuable part of the trust’s workforce.

Acting chief executive Helen Brown said: “One of the things I love most about working here is the wonderful diversity that makes #TeamWestHerts what it is. We are lucky to have a workforce made up of staff from so many countries, who all bring with them a wide range of skills, knowledge and experience which we can all learn from.

“I’d like to reassure our staff from EU countries that we want them to stay with us and that we are here to provide support in any way we can.”

The trust employs over 530 members of staff who are EU citizens. They make up 11% of our workforce and they contribute their skills and expertise as nurses, midwives, doctors and allied health professionals to care for our patients. They also provide valuable support in non-clinical areas too.

Director of HR Paul da Gama said: “Unfortunately over the last two years we’ve seen a significant number of our EU staff leaving and returning home. Hopefully this small gesture shows how much we value them and the vital contribution they make.”

The news was warmly welcomed by Vicky Houghton, a critical care matron who chairs the trust’s group of union representatives. She said: “This is really good news for staff as it means we can continue to work as a team with our European colleagues. This is a positive way to reduce our vacancy rates and maintain the numbers in our workforce. I’m thrilled that the trust has made this decision.”

Details of the scheme are below:

Question

Answer

Who can apply for the scheme?

EU citizens and their family members who are living and working in the UK.

Further details are available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-applicant-eligibility

(Note: EU citizens married to British citizens still need to apply)

When can staff apply?

Trust staff can take advantage of the early application phase and apply between 29 November and 21 December 2018.

What’s the difference between ‘settled’ and ‘pre-settled’ status’

Settled status - This status will allow EU citizens who have lived in the UK for five or more years and their families to stay in the UK for as long as they would like.

Pre-settled status – This status will allow EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years to remain in the UK for a further five years or until they eligible to apply for settled status.

How do staff apply?

It’s a quick and easy online application.

Please refer to the Government website for further details: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-applicant-eligibility (please note that the application form will be available once the application window opens on 29 November)

…but what about the fee?

The trust will pay the application fee of £65 for substantive staff employed by West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, who are EU citizens with valid passports, applying for either settled or pre-settled status.

Further information about how the fee will be reimbursed will be communicated once confirmed.

Ends

Notes to editor

  1. For more information, please contact the communications team on: 01923 436280 or email: communications@whht.nhs.uk. Out of hours, please call 07900 228031.
  2. West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust serves people from across Hertfordshire, north London and further afield. It operates from three hospitals; Watford General, St Albans City and Hemel Hempstead. The trust has a catchment area of over 500,000 people and is one of the largest employers locally, with around 5,000 staff and volunteers.
  3. For more information about our hospitals, visit www.westhertshospitals.nhs.uk. You can also join our followers on Twitter (twitter.com/westhertsNHS) and find us on Facebook (facebook.com/westhertsNHS)
  4. Photo credit: (© Jess Hurd),