COVID 19 Resources
My name is Eva and I am a frontline NHS nurse who has been caring for coronavirus patients during this terrible pandemic.
I’m also one of the thousands of overseas nurses who are part of the NHS frontline workforce.
I trained as a nurse in Kenya, but I live in the UK and have been working for the NHS for nearly 10 years.
I want to settle in the UK and continue with my nursing work but after about 10 difficult years, I need to secure Indefinite Leave to Remain to make this life sustainable.
A life of visa renewals is painful, nerving and uncertain. Unfortunately, applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain is an expensive process. It will cost around £15,000 for myself and my family.
This is a figure that I simply can’t afford on my nurse’s wage – especially given the harsh immigration conditions and additional visa fees related costs like immigration health surcharge fees I have had to pay as an overseas NHS nurse over the past decade.
Battling with these conditions has left me in a crippling debt.
That is why I have set up this crowdfunding page.
I feel this is the only way to reach out for your help; to secure a stable life for my family and I; and also to have the peace of mind I need as a frontline nurse in the business of live saving in the UK’s health sector.
My request for help on the same from the UK government that claim to value NHS workers was flatly turned down in March 2021. They stated that I have to pay regardless of my financial circumstances.
However, frontline overseas workers’ families were promised automatic indefinite leave to remain only if they die with the Covid 19 infection.
It is the scheme that says;
you die first then we give it to your family as a condition. Fortunately I survived and more so, my family would be too upset to receive the permanent stay offer on those terms!
Thankfully, am still alive and my story is below, and thank you for reading.
Eva Omondi- NHS overseas nurse
The truth about being an overseas nurse
I love being a nurse, but being an overseas worker comes with difficulties. Overseas nurses have no recourse to public funds. This means we cannot access most welfare benefits, including childcare, tax credits, housing support, and more. At the same time, we have additional expenses – visa costs for ourselves and our families.
We work overtime to pay these costs, but for every extra shift we work, we also have to pay for childcare (often at night or at weekends when prices are even higher). It’s a vicious cycle that means despite being frontline nurses, many of us live from hand to mouth, on loans and help from friends, food banks and occasional support from charities.
Many nurses with families even resort to shared accommodation to share costs. Others have to send their little children back to their homeland overseas for affordable childcare. It’s mere survival. It’s a pathetic life. Some of us have holidays in our friends houses just for a change of environment. Holidays are not in our budget!
This is the plight of many overseas nurses and other professionals, suffering quietly for fear of embarrassment. We work non-stop to support our families and fund the costs of visas. We contribute immensely to the economy through the delivery of health care and by paying taxes like any other citizen. Yet we are denied access to the public funds which are sustained by these taxes.
Separated from my children
Until recently, we had to pay the immigration health surcharge, an unfair fee that has left me in debt and which I campaigned for it’s end after the pain it caused so many overseas health care families who sustain the same health care services.
It led me to the most emotional ordeal of my life – being separated from my two youngest children when I could no longer afford childcare and had to send them back to Kenya to live with my family.
We were finally reunited last year, and I am determined to never be separated from them again. This is why securing Indefinite Leave to Remain is so important to me.
I recently applied for consideration of a fees waiver for Indefinite Leave to Remain for me and my family, after revealing my shameful struggles as a frontline NHS nurse over the years and through the ongoing pandemic. Despite having served a total of 9 years on visa with the maximum six years on my nursing work permit with my dependants, and the painful visa processes and fees, the government denied me Indefinite Leave to Remain because I could not afford it’s cost.
Instead, they opted to have my family and I on a different pathway – a 10-year route, which feels like infinity, and knowing that I still have to find the money to pay a huge sum at the end does not help.
This was an insult to my nine years of dedicated service
More over, having gone through the mentally and physically draining pandemic (including caring for covid patients in an ITU at times), I feel disappointed that my request was heartlessly turned down by the government of the country I chose to call home – a government that I put my life on the line for during the pandemic, whom I have served diligently during the worst possible world health crisis.
Nurses are only human. We do a physically and mentally challenging job and need time to recover, so we can deliver the best patient care. My current circumstances mean this is not possible. It is exhausting working every extra hour and having the ordeal of continuously renewing visas..
Why the plea?
After a request to review my case was rejected by the home office, I feel I have nowhere left to turn to. It is on this basis that I am humbly launching an appeal for help.
Any manner of support will be highly appreciated. Every contribution, big or small, will help us forge ahead towards this goal of Indefinite Leave to Remain and a peaceful life in the UK.
In case of any extra donations from this platform, I will;
•create awareness through campaigns that highlight the serious challenges experienced by overseas healthcare workers who sustain the healthcare of this nation and to emphasise on the power of voicing concerns.
They suffer in silence because of a government that is irresponsive to their needs.
On the same note, I will continue to campaign for a better pay rise for Healthcare workers in the UK;
and for automatic indefinite leave to remain as a recognition of the pandemic overseas frontline health workers.
•More so, I will give back the equivalence of; or more, as able, of what I received in donations to the the food banks, and money, to charities and the people who offered me occasional financial relief to support them in helping other nurses and healthcare workers in times of crucial need. We are the people looking after the health of the nation, but sometimes we need to be looked after too.
https://www.bedfordshirelive.co.uk › ...Luton nurse forced to use foodbanks left 'insulted' by one per cent pay ...
Finally, I hope to also publish my book highlighting the real picture of overseas life that will help dispel the common misconceptions to create awareness.
Every little will go far in sealing the gap!
Thank you for your help and for reading my story.
NHS frontline overseas nurse