The United Kingdom (UK) Government has officially confirmed an extension of 1 year for visas of foreign nurses and doctors including those from India. Their visas were slated to expire on the 31st of March, 2021 but the Government has taken this decision in light of their continuing efforts in the countrywide fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This move comes after the official announcement made sometime earlier in 2020 which provided free extensions of visas for healthcare professionals which were expected to expire between March and October 2020.
This will mean that 6,000 doctors, paramedics, nurses, occupational therapists, midwives, psychologists and other health professionals will have eligibility for a free and further extension. According to the UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, the Government wishes to acknowledge and recognize the vast contribution made by overseas healthcare professionals throughout the country in fighting the deadly coronavirus. She also added that the Government hugely values the work being done by these modern-day heroes and this is why it is renewing its 12-month free offer for visa extension. Patel also added that this will benefit 6,000 more frontline healthcare workers and their families as per estimates, stating that they truly deserve official support and a lot of gratitude.
More about the extension
The extension was officially announced by the UK Home Office and will cover all professionals working in independent healthcare entities along with the NHS (National Health Service). Visas will be extended for 1 year absolutely free of all costs inclusive of the IHS (Immigration Health Surcharge). Eligible beneficiaries under this visa extension will have to complete a form online for verification of identity with their eligibility also being confirmed by their employers. UK Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has also stated that this extension will immensely help professionals in the healthcare sector who have displayed enormous and inspirational dedication in these challenging times for protecting UK citizens and their families from the coronavirus threat.
The UK Government has also stated that this decision is only a part of several measures implemented for providing support to NHS workers and the wider health and care community throughout the pandemic period. The Bereavement Scheme, granting permanent residency in the UK to family members of foreign medics who passed away after contracting COVID-19, has been expanded to cover all health, NHS, and social care workers. Those health professionals who are eligible and their dependents may also undertake to apply for the brand new fast-track Health and Care Visa. This is aimed at making it more affordable, faster, and simpler for global healthcare professionals to work in the National Health Service (NHS) and social care sector along with organizations offering commissioned services to the NHS as well.