FAMILY MEMBERS OF HEALTHCARE WORKERS EXCLUDED FROM PRIORITY EXCEPTIONS TO THE TEMPORARY SUSPENSION OF VISA APPLICATIONS
Irish healthcare workers have shared their experiences of being on the frontline during this Covid-19 Pandemic in a recently published Irish Times Article.
Particularly worrying to us here at Berkeley Solicitors, was the experience of the Medical Registrar in the State during Covid-19.
The medical registrar details that neither he nor his wife, who is also frontline staff as a doctor in a HSE hospital, have family here in Ireland and that visa applications for his parents to join the family in the State were recently refused by INIS.
Healthcare staff around Ireland are working tirelessly in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The doctor discloses that he and his wife are currently rostered between 84 to 91 hours a week. This, coupled with the fact that they have a 10 month old son who can no longer attend his creche, means that this family is being placed under an extraordinary amount of pressure, urgently needing the help and support of close family members during this pandemic.
On 21st March 2020, the Immigration Service Delivery (formerly INIS) announced that specific priority/emergency cases would be accepted as an exception to the temporary suspension of visa application procedures.
Visa applications made by family members of healthcare professionals in Ireland are not included as priority/emergency cases at this time.
We have previously voiced concerns on the closure of a number of Embassies, Consulates and VFS Global Ireland which has raised a huge amount of uncertainty on the process of applying for these emergency visas.
We would also question the Department’s policy of prohibiting family members of healthcare workers, such as the parents of doctors in Ireland or other close family members of medical professionals, to apply for visas to travel to the State.
Medical professionals are being called on to put their work and the lives of individuals all around Ireland ahead of the safety and well-being of their own families and as highlighted in this article, are doing so without proper or appropriate child care or the support of their family.
Unfortunately, this situation is likely to resonate with a large number of families and individuals resident in Ireland.
We would call on the Department to consider the needs of healthcare workers during this time and recognise the difficulties healthcare workers are facing by not having familial support systems in the State during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you or any family member are affected by this issue, Berkeley Solicitors would be happy to further advise any medical practitioners who might require support of their family members during the crisis and wish to have their family members in the State with them.