Thousands of vital health professionals and their family dependants will have their visas extended for a year, free of all fees and charges, Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced today.
This will mean that more than 6,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, occupational therapists, psychologists as well as a range of allied health professionals will be able to continue their crucial work in the fight against coronavirus.
This follows an announcement earlier in the year offering free visa extensions for health professionals whose visas were due to expire between 31 March 2020 and 1 October 2020. Today’s decision will extend that offer from 1 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
We recognise the huge contribution healthcare professionals from overseas are making across the UK in fighting the devastating impact of coronavirus.
We truly value the work these heroes are doing, which is why we’re renewing our free 12-month visa extension offer.
We estimate this will benefit a further 6,000 dedicated frontline workers and their families who deserve our support and our gratitude.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:
I am hugely grateful for all of the frontline health and social care workers from overseas who have worked tirelessly to save lives and provide the best possible care during this global pandemic.
This visa extension will help to benefit healthcare professionals who have shown extraordinary dedication during this challenging period to protect all of us and our families from the threat of the virus.
This extension will cover healthcare professionals working in the NHS and the independent health and care sector. Their visas will be extended for a year, free of all fees and charges, including the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Those benefiting from this extension will need to complete a simple online form to verify their identity. We will also ask their employers to confirm their eligibility.
Whilst this offer focuses on key frontline health professionals, it is just one part of the unprecedented range of measures taken to support the NHS and wider health and care sector during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Bereavement Scheme has been expanded to all NHS, health and social care workers. Eligible health professionals and their dependants can also apply for the new fast-track Health and Care visa, which makes it easier, cheaper and quicker for the best global health professionals to work in the NHS, the social care sector and for those organisations which provide commissioned services to the NHS.
Healthcare workers who are EU, other EEA or Swiss citizens, or their family members, also have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, which has already granted status and secured the rights in UK law of more than 3.9 million people.