35 nurses in the Mater Hospital Dublin have been warned they may no longer be able to work in Ireland, as they are awaiting crucial documents from a government department.
The nurses provide specialised, lifesaving care in theatres, high-dependency units, transplant surgery and cardiology. Many have been working in Ireland for several years.
Yet administrative delays in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service mean that they have not received letters of support confirming that their skills are needed.
Without these letters, they will not be able to work in Irish hospitals during the coming winter, when hospitals are expected to come under intense pressure.
The INMO represents over 1,000 nurses at the Mater and has been actively pursuing this case with the employer and the government. The union wrote to the Minister for Health on December 6th, calling on him to expedite the process.
Albert Murphy, the INMO’s Industrial Relations Officer for the Mater said:
“These vital workers are stuck in a visa limbo. It is deeply unfair to put them in this position, especially so close to Christmas. They work hard to care for patients and deserve the certainty that they will still have jobs to go to.
“There’s a huge shortage of nurses in Ireland, yet it appears that we may be locking out highly skilled staff due to a bureaucratic backlog. The Department of Health spend millions on agency nurses and overseas recruitment every week, yet the Department of Business is forcing qualified nurses out.
“It seems the government’s left hand doesn’t know what the right one is doing. Simon Harris needs to pick up the phone to Heather Humphreys and get this mess sorted out urgently. Nurses and patients deserve better.”