The UK Home Office has decided to automatically extend visas for doctors, nurses, and paramedics which are set to expire before October 2020, for another year, in a bid to help them focus on the work they are doing at the NHS fighting the novel Coronavirus.
The government website announced today, that the decision has been taken as foreign doctors, nurses and paramedics working at the NHS are part of the national effort to combat the Coronavirus, VisaGuide.World reports.
It is estimated that around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, employed by the NHS will benefit from the move. The extension will also apply to their family members in the UK.
“By giving them the peace of mind that they do not need to apply for a visa extension, this will allow those at the frontline – working around the clock in hospitals to treat the most seriously ill – to focus fully on combatting coronavirus and saving lives,” reads a government statement announcing the decision.
Additionally, Home Office has also decided to lift the restriction on the number of hours student nurses can work in the NHS in order to get more doctors and nurses on the frontline.
As per pre-registered overseas nurses who are required to sit their first skills test within three months and to pass the test within eights months, the Home Office has decided to extend the deadline for them to the end of the year, so right now they can spend the immediate term working on the frontline.
“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,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said.
She explained that Home Office does not want these visa holders distracted by the visa process, and for that reason, their visas will be automatically extended with no additional fees required, and exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Trainee doctors and nurses will also not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time.