New Zealand nurse fundraising to pay £2,600 residency fee to keep working in the NHS despite UK’s nurse shortage
A NEW Zealand nurse who has spent 10 years working for our ‘fantastic’ NHS is appealing for help to gain residency and stay in the UK.
Amber Tasker, an acute adult mental health nurse at Elmleigh hospital in Havant, has lived and worked in the UK for more than 10 years.
Over this period, she has had to spend around £10,000 to stay in the country, paying for four visas as well as having to go back to New Zealand for a time.
Amber has been told that she finally qualifies for residency, or indefinite leave to remain - but she will need to pay the £2,600 residency fee to stay in the UK and continue her work.
Amber, 33, from Southsea, said: ‘It has been quite a challenge and cost a small fortune.
‘The fees for this application are more than I can afford due to living on my own, current nurse wages, and my recent health preventing me from working as many hours as I would like to.’
The sum needed to pay the fee equates to 14 per cent of Amber’s nursing salary of £18,819 before tax.
She said: ‘It does seem strange that we have a national nursing shortage in our NHS and it’s so difficult and expensive for me to stay here.
‘It doesn’t add up for me - the way that the Home Office works is that the only reason I’ve been able to stay the last five years is because I’m a nurse.
‘Even pre-Covid, it’s been understood that there’s a real shortage in the workforce. I can’t explain it.’
Amber started nursing in 2012, and says that she loves the ‘fantastic’ NHS service provided in the UK - but she worries for its future.
She said: ‘The cuts and privatisation means that the NHS hasn’t been a priority for the government.
‘The NHS is such an amazing system - it has the potential to be a world leader and there’s still a lot of things that other countries take and use in their systems, in my own country as well.
‘With the closure of wards, the NHS is being really stressed. It feels like it’s being quietly shut down.
‘It really feels like the NHS is being sabotaged or forced into a position to fail by the current government and I feel like it is something worth fighting for that I want to continue to be part of.’
Also known as Psyclone to her friends in the roller derby community, the Kiwi nurse said: ‘I have built a life here and am not ready to leave it, and my UK whanau – friends and wider community.’
Amber was encouraged by her friends to launch the campaign, and has so far raised £1,425 towards her target.
She added: ‘The response I’ve had so far has been really lovely - it felt really strange for me to start a fundraiser for myself, but the support I’ve had has been really nice.’
So far Amber is more than halfway to her £2,600 target.