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01.04.20

UK to automatically extend visas for NHS front line workers

The Home Office has announced any doctors, nurses and paramedics with visas due to expire before October 1, 2020 will have them automatically extended for one year as part of the national effort to combat coronavirus.

The extensions will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics currently employed by the NHS, as well as their family members, in an effort to demonstrate their value to the NHS and the UK healthcare sector.

The extension to NHS visas will be automatic, will have no fee attached and will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Home Secretary Priti Patel made the announcement, with government officials hoping that clearing away the potentially stressful process of applying for a visa extension and providing these front line workers with peace of mind will allow them to focus more thoroughly on the task at hand; helping provide vital care during the coronavirus outbreak.

In the same announcement, the Home Office also lifted the restriction on the amount of hours students nurses and doctors can work in the NHS, increasing numbers of available healthcare professionals.

Pre-registered overseas nurses who currently are required to sit their first skills test within three months and pass the test within eight have now also seen their deadline extended to the end of the year as well. This will give overseas nurses more time to pass their exams, whilst they spend the immediate term working on the frontline.

Ms Patel said: “Doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do.

“I don’t want them distracted by the visa process. That is why I have automatically extended their visas – free of charge – for a further year.”

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