UK Home Office finally extends visa for Egyptian doctor critically ill with Covid-19

UK Home Office finally extends visa for Egyptian doctor critically ill with Covid-19
Dr Basem Enany and his family feared they would be forced to leave the United Kingdom when the doctor's work visa expired in December.
4 min read
03 December, 2020
Dr. Basem Enany feared he would be forced to leave the UK [GoFundMe]
The visa of an Egyptian doctor threatened with removal from the UK after becoming critically ill from Covid-19 complications has been extended by the UK Home Office, the Guardian reported.

Dr Basem Enany and his family feared they would be forced to leave the United Kingdom when the doctor's work visa expires in December.

Enany, a consultant cardiologist working at a York hospital, tested positive for the novel coronavirus in mid-September.

The Egyptian doctor suffered a rare complication of the Covid-19 disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome. The syndrome attacks the nerves and has caused Enany to experience progressive paralysis, leaving him unable to move his limbs or breathe unassisted.

The stress of his critical condition was worsened by fears the Home Office would not renew his visa due to his illness.

Enany's contract was due to finish at the end of November and his current work visa expires in December. Before falling ill, the doctor was working on job applications and planning to renew his visa to stay in the UK.

After many weeks of uncertainty, the family has finally been told by the Home Office that Enany's tier 2 work visa has been extended for another year.

"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," Enany told the Guardian.

"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," he said.

"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."

Two months ago, Enany's prognosis was not yet clear; Guillain-Barré sydrome can be life-threatening but most patients eventually make a full recovery. Hospital treatment for the illness can last months.

Enany is now recovering, the Guardian reported, and he no longer needs a ventilator.

Unable to see his family and four children since the end of September, they now hope to be reunited by Christmas.

Due to his illness, Dr. Enany's wife feared she and her children would be forced by the Home Office to leave the United Kingdom.

"I can't believe this is happening. The whole thing is like a bad dream," Dr Basem Enany's wife, who did not wish to give her full name, told The Guardian in October.

"The whole thing is like a bad dream. My husband is young and very talented. We never thought we would face something like this," Enany's wife said.

"He loves his work so much. Even when he first got Covid he was working online from home on his emails and looking at his referrals. He is a very dedicated doctor. Before this happened our lives were smooth and easy and stable. Our four daughters are very well settled here. All of them love school and are happy here," she added.

Dr Sanjay Gupta, a friend and colleague of Enany, had set up a crowdfunding page to raise funds to cover the doctor's medical fees as well as legal costs allowing his family to stay in the country "on compassionate grounds".

In just one day the campaign surpassed its goal of raising £10,000. Over £130,000 had been donated at the time of writing.

The crowdfunding page described Enany as a "frontline fighter" in the coronavirus pandemic.

He "regularly spent full day and night shifts on the COVID wards looking after very sick patients" as well as looking "after and saved the lives of several critically ill cardiac patients", the page says.

"As a friend and colleague, I feel both heartbroken and helpless. Whilst I am worried about Basem, I am equally worried about the future for his wife and daughters," Gupta wrote on the GoFundMe page.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian: "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."

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