Hospitals trust will spend up to £20,000 registering EU nationals
Health bosses at Greater Lincolnshire’s hospitals have agreed to foot the bill for registering EU nationals in their workforce ahead of Brexit.
Officials were encouraged by the Secretary of State to write to their staff to apply for settled status.
It comes as the government is launching an EU Settlement Scheme in March this year, but has trialled the system for health and care workers.
The scheme means EU citizens can apply to continue living in the UK after June 30, 2021.
Now, United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust and Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust have confirmed they have agreed to meet the costs of registering EU nationals in their workforce.
ULHT, which employs 300 EU nationals plus 50 bank staff, is set to spend between £15,000 and £20,000 to register its workers.
The EU Settlement Scheme will allow nationals who have lived here for five years or more to register for settled status.
Those who have lived in the UK for less than that amount of time can apply for pre-settled status.
Each application will cost £65 for adults and £32.50 per child in order to register.
The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019.
Health secretary, Matt Hancock MP, said in a letter to health officials that he “strongly encouraged” them to use the scheme in order to give staff “certainty”.
“There is no obligation for EU nationals to register early,” he said. “However, it is an opportunity for many to get this certainty earlier, and I would strongly encourage you to publicise this to your health and care staff who are EU nationals.”
A spokesperson for ULHT said: “At United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust we value every member of staff, including those working with us from the EU.
“We have been actively engaging with our staff from the EU and offering them full support around the arrangements for continuing to work at the trust as they play a very important role in maintaining essential services.”
Meanwhile, NLaG, which runs Scunthorpe and Grimsby hospitals, employs 178 EU nationals across their sites.
Dr Peter Reading, chief executive of the trust, said funds will also be set aside to help those who join NLaG before the June 2021 deadline.
“Our EU staff account for just under three percent of our total workforce but they are a vital and valued part of it,” he said.
“They are highly skilled and many of them have lived and worked in our local communities for years.
“From doctors and nurses, to therapists and radiologists, they provide essential clinical services to our local population.
“We will support those who are already employed by the trust to register for the settlement scheme and we are also setting aside funds to pay the fees for those who join us before the deadline to apply.”