The UK Home Office has finally extended the visa of Egyptian cardiologist, Basem Enany, who fell seriously ill with coronavirus. Dr Enany, who works for the NHS, feared he would be removed from the UK after becoming too sick to work. However, after months of campaigning and press coverage, Mr Enany is celebrating his visa being extended.
Dr Enany, a locum consultant cardiologist at York teaching hospital, had helped to treat many patients suffering from coronavirus. However, after contracting the disease himself, he developed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare complication of COVID-19 and other viruses, and was placed on a ventilator. The complications left him partially paralysed.
According to Dr Enany, there has only been one other recorded case like his in the UK.
The stress of falling ill was compounded by Dr Enany’s fears that he would be forced to leave the UK by the Home Office. The cardiologist was worried that his Tier 2 work visa would not be renewed, leaving him and his family at risk of deportation or facing the possibility of having to apply for an alternative UK visa.
However, if he had switched to another visa, Dr Enany was aware that this wouldn’t count toward the time non-UK nationals are required to spend in the UK before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.
Dr Enany and his wife, Marwa Mohamed, have been left facing an anxious wait over many weeks not only worrying about his health issues but their future in Britain. Home Office sources claim that the government agency had been in touch with the family to offer ‘reassurances and support.’
UK visa renewed
Now, the Home Office has informed the family that Dr Enany’s UK Tier 2 visa will be renewed for a further 12 months, much to the relief of the family because it removes the anxiety over their UK immigration status and allows Mr Enany to focus on his recovery.
Dr Enany told The Guardian: “This is a great solution. We really appreciate the efforts the Home Office has made and want to thank them so much. The visa extension means that I have time to recover properly. I hope to be able to return to my work as a cardiologist as soon as I can. I love what I do and I’m really missing my patients.”
“I had never been sick like this before and although as a doctor I knew about the great work done by other members of the medical team like nurses and physios, I appreciate them even more now I have experienced as a patient what they do. I have learned a lot from them and thank everyone so much who has looked after me,” Dr Enany added.
It’s understood that Dr Enany is recovering well, and no longer requires a ventilator. Despite being wheelchair bound, he is starting to walk again. He is currently in an intensive rehabilitation unit in Leeds, undergoing physiotherapy treatment.
Due to current coronavirus restrictions, Dr Enany has been unable to see his wife and four daughters since the end of September. The family remain hopeful that he will be able to return home for Christmas.
Mr Enany’s wife said: “The decision the Home Office made is such a good one for us. The children are so happy and so excited that they will hopefully be able to see their dad again soon. We all miss him so much. We have a very big family celebration planned for when he is able to return home.”
Amid Dr Enany’s health issues, a crowdfunding campaign was started to help raise money to cover the cost of his legal and medical bills. Remaining funds from the campaign will now be donated to COVID-19 and Guillain-Barré syndrome research.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: “We’ve worked closely with Dr Enany’s family during this very difficult time to assure them they are here entirely legally and have every right to remain in the UK, and we have provided them with an extension to their visa, which will not affect their pathway to indefinite leave to remain, to allow him to recover.”
“Health and social care professionals from all over the world play a vital role in hospitals and care homes across the UK and we are hugely grateful for their work,” the spokesperson added.
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