Thousands of crucial frontline health workers and their dependents will be granted free visa extensions, Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced today.
This free one-year visa extensions will automatically be granted to eligible overseas health and care workers whose visas were due to expire before 1st October 2021.
Since starting the free extensions last year, the Home Office has extended the visas of more than 10,000 people. It is expected that this announcement will benefit a further 14,000 applicants.
Doctors, nurses, paramedics, midwives, occupational therapists, psychologists and others will be able to continue their crucial work in the fight against coronavirus.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The dedication and skill of overseas health and care workers who are leading the UK’s fight against coronavirus is truly extraordinary.
Thousands of them have helped save countless lives throughout this pandemic and are now playing a vital part in the hugely successful vaccination rollout.
Our offer of free visa extensions shows how our country values the contributions of these heroes.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:
Our overseas health and care workers make such a vital contribution to our health system and have been a key part of fight against the pandemic. They are protecting our loved ones and vaccinating the public so that we can save lives and return to normality.
To help those staff from overseas, we are extending their visas to provide security while they continue to tackle this virus.
This extension covers 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 an online form to verify their identity and the Home Office will ask their employers to confirm their eligibility.
The Health and Care Visa launched last August, 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. On 29th January, the government expanded the list of occupations which are eligible to benefit from the Health and Care Visa. More than 20,000 people have been granted a visa through the route.