Anand Kumar is a senior physiotherapist working in the NHS. He’s set up a petition because his NHS wage doesn’t meet the government’s threshold for visa exemptions. He’s going to have to leave the UK, his job in the NHS and his home. Please sign and share the petition (link)
1) Hi Anand, you’re a physiotherapist in the NHS, can you tell us a bit about your job?
I am currently working as a senior physiotherapist in the Trauma and Orthopaedic team in one of the biggest NHS trusts in Birmingham. I see patients with fractured and broken bones, respiratory and neurological disorders, and all the conditions that come with old age. I carry out discharges on a regular basis and ensure that our limited hospital acute beds are available for as many patients as possible. I also support students from university of Birmingham/Coventry in their placement. It’s a pretty vital role, especially with our ageing population and the complex problems that come with frailty.
2) How long have you been in the UK and what’s been your experience here?
I arrived in Sheffield in 2009. I had nothing but the two bags I carried. From working hard in the NHS I now have a house of my own where I live with my wife (who’s doing a masters in engineering) and dog, Casper. My colleagues have been really supportive and helped me build my career. We all pull together in the NHS – we have to.
3) Tell us about your immigration situation, how come there is a problem now?
The Home Office is desperate to reduce immigrant numbers so it’s very hard to obtain a visa. Recent legislation created an earnings threshold of £35000 per year for non-EU immigrants. This completely excludes the majority of NHS workers.
With the NHS desperately understaffed, some roles have been exempted. However, this very short and limited list doesn’t included physiotherapists. I even earn more than £35K because of the overtime I put in but that’s not counted. So I’m going to have to leave the NHS and the UK.
4) So tell us what you’re asking people to do?
I’ve set up a petition that calls on the government to at least reduced the wages threshold for NHS workers to something attainable, like the national average wage, £28,000. Ideally, they’d put all NHS jobs on the visa exemption list but the national average wage seems like a decent compromise.
Of course, they will only respond if enough people sign it so I’m asking all your supporters to sign the petition and share it with their friends.
Our NHS needs staff and the current system of visa exemptions is creating too many stories like mine – dedicated, NHS workers that need to leave the NHS because we aren’t allowed to stay in the UK.
Anand’s story is pretty common. The NHS needs staff like Anand, please sign his petition today