The RCM has been pushing for a fair deal for midwives and MSWs who have come to the UK.
We are now getting to crunch time for the Brexit negotiations. There is no longer any time for the prime minister to answer questions about it with empty phrases like, ‘Brexit means Brexit’ and the government wants a ‘red, white and blue Brexit’.
One of the areas where clarity is needed is on the rights of people from one of the 27 other EU member states (EU27 nationals) who are living and working here in the UK to continue to do so after the UK has left.
This group includes many midwives working in the NHS. Indeed, there are 1700 EU27 nationals registered with the NMC to practise as midwives in the UK. Looking at the latest numbers, some hospitals have dozens of EU27 midwives, one has almost 100. These midwives – as well as EU27 MSWs too – make a big contribution to maternity services, in total providing care for tens of thousands of women each year.
Thankfully, this is one area where the government has brought forward clear plans and the RCM is keen to share them.
The government plans to introduce a new system of ‘settled status’. Starting with the limited trials in August and running until mid-2021, there will be essentially a three-year window during which EU27 nationals can apply to have their status confirmed.
If, at the time they apply, individuals have lived in the UK for five years or more, they will be given ‘settled status’, which will mean that they are free to continue to live in the UK, as now, for the rest of their lives. If at the time of application they are living in the UK but have done so for less than five years, they will get ‘pre-settled status’ and have permission to live here for a further five years, allowing them to clock up the time needed to obtain full settled status.
The process sounds like it should be pretty straightforward, with officials instructed to be helpful to applicants. The cost will be £65 for most people, with some reductions, for example for children.
There is obviously too much detail to put in this article, and if you are an EU27 national you will no doubt have lots of questions. The best place to go for more information is the government’s website, where there are more details. Visit bit.ly/EU_guidance
Ever since the EU referendum took place in 2016, the RCM has been pushing for a fair deal for midwives and MSWs who have come to the UK from the EU. We value your contribution, and the simple fact that you have made your lives here and have had no say in this process whatsoever. The UK has chosen this course, and it should treat those affected by it with generosity.