Free visa scheme for overseas nurses extended

One-year visa extensions will be automatically granted to health and social care workers whose visas are due to expire.

Matt Bodell
13 April 2021
Nurse walking in street

Many colleagues are calling for workers to be granted indefinite leave to remain.

Overseas nursing staff who have helped with the UK’s pandemic response and their dependents are to have their visas extended.

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One-year visa extensions will be automatically granted to healthcare workers whose visas are due to expire before 1 October 2021.

The scheme, originally launched in March 2020 and due to expire in October 2020, was designed to bolster the UK’s healthcare workforce during the pandemic.

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.”

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The 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.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock added; “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.”

Many believe the steps don’t go far enough, with some calling for indefinite leave to remain to be automatically granted to all health and social care workers who have helped during the pandemic.

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