As the UK approaches the Brexit deadline, more than 6,000 frontline health workers will have their visas extended for a year for free, including doctors, nurses and paramedics.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced the one-year visa extension, free of all fees and charges, for thousands of vital health professionals and their family dependants.
The measures will cover health professionals whose visas were due to expire between October 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021.
Health workers covered under the visa extensions include doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, occupational therapists, psychologists, as well as a range of allied health professionals.
It follows an announcement earlier in the year offering free visa extensions for health professionals whose visas had been due to expire between March 31, 2020 and October 1, 2020.
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 added: “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.”
Ahead of the Brexit finalisations, 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 NHS, social care sector and those who provide commissioned services into the health service to recruit the best health professionals from around the globe.
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.
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