On 29 April 2020, the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, announced that automatic visa extensions will be granted free of charge to all crucial health and care workers whose visas are due to expire before 1 October 2020.
Midwives, social workers, radiographers and pharmacists working in both the NHS and independent institutions will be granted a one-year extension of their visas. The same will apply to their family members.
It is estimated that approximately 3,000 frontline workers and their families will benefit from this scheme, which is an expansion of the initial Government policy announced on 31 March and aimed at NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics.
The Home Secretary stated that “We have already announced the extension of visas for NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics. Now we are going further by extending this offer to hundreds of other frontline health and care workers, both in the NHS and in the independent sector”.
This latest extension comes into effect immediately and is applicable to all visas expiring between 31 March and 1 October 2020. In addition, those eligible for visa extension will be also exempt from paying the Immigration Health Surcharge.
In light of this, any NHS workers who have paid for unresolved visa applications will be offered a refund.
The official Home Office statement read: “Those benefiting [from the scheme] are providing essential services in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It is important we relieve the pressure from the whole of the NHS, so it can focus maximum effort on fighting the coronavirus and saving lives”.
In addition, the Home Secretary added that “We are incredibly grateful to all overseas health and care workers fighting this invisible enemy”.
In order to extend this gratitude even further, the Home Office has confirmed that indefinite leave to remain will be granted without delay to all family members and dependants of frontline healthcare workers who pass away as a result of contracting the coronavirus.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.