I still remember the night when I came to Sheffield on 3rd of September 2009 with nothing, just two red bags in my hand. Now I am an owner of a nice house in Solihull (one of the best areas in West Midlands), I have a very good-looking and friendly dog, and my beautiful wife is studying for a master’s degree in engineering.
I’m a senior physiotherapist working for the NHS.
After working 6-7 days a week and earning £46,000 a year, I have no right to extend my stay in the UK. The rules say that overtime doesn’t count, and because my actual contracted salary is less than £35,000 a year. This is next to impossible for any NHS staff to reach within first 5 years of their qualification.
My struggle started from the first day when I had to find a part time job to support my living. After contacting every retail outlet and warehouse I was unable to get a job. At the end, I found a job in a NEXT warehouse with the help of my friend.
As English is not my first language, I struggled in passing my first module. But after consistent hard work and appropriate guidance from my tutor, I passed all my modules on my first attempt.
After completing my master’s degree, I focused on getting a job because this was the only way I could get experience of working in the NHS. As our course had no placement opportunity, I struggled a lot in receiving my first interview call.
Again, after lot of hard work, I got my first job in the NHS as a physiotherapy assistant which was only available for a month. I was lucky enough to find a Locum Senior physiotherapist who helped me in getting my first Physiotherapist job in Birmingham.
Although this job was on a zero-hour contract, I relocated to Birmingham with the hope to get a permanent contract and extend my stay.
My work colleagues were very helpful from day one. With their continuous support and my hard work I am currently working as a senior physiotherapist in Trauma and Orthopaedic team in one of the biggest NHS trust in Birmingham.
I see patients with fractured and broken bones, respiratory and neurological disorders, and all the conditions that come with old age. I carry out discharges on a regular basis to free up the hospital acute beds which can be used by for our unwell patients. I also support students from university of Birmingham/Coventry in their placement.
But only my salary matters, so I will have to leave.
After completing my stay here for over 9 years (well before this £35K rule was even being considered), making a difference to people’s life on a regular basis, contributing to the UK economy by paying nearly £1000 tax a month, I will be asked to leave my house, my friends and my dog Casper because I am a non-EU citizen.