Visa extensions for foreign-born frontline NHS staff as Priti Patel praises ‘heroic’ efforts during Covid pandemic

  • Home Secretary will instruct officials to grant automatic 12-month extensions to vital workers if their visa is due to run out by October 
  • Announcement is expected to benefit up to 14,000 essential workers including doctors, nurses and paramedics
  • Scheme will also benefit workers in independent health and care sectors; scientists, opticians, dentists and physiotherapists will also qualify

Thousands of foreign-born NHS staff and their families are to be offered free extensions to their visas, Priti Patel will announce today.

The Home Secretary will instruct officials to grant automatic 12-month extensions to vital workers if their visa is due to run out by October.

The announcement is expected to benefit up to 14,000 essential workers including doctors, nurses and paramedics.

Miss 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 foreign-born NHS staff and their families are to be offered free extensions to their visas, Priti Patel will announce today. (File photo)

The Home Secretary will instruct officials to grant automatic 12-month extensions to vital workers if their visa is due to run out by October

‘Thousands have helped save countless lives throughout this pandemic and are now playing a vital part in the vaccination rollout. 

‘Our offer of free visa extensions shows how our country values the contributions of these heroes.’

The scheme will also benefit workers in the independent health and care sectors. 

The announcement is expected to benefit up to 14,000 essential workers including doctors, nurses and paramedics

Scientists, opticians, dentists and physiotherapists will also qualify.

It is the third time the Home Office has offered free visa extensions to foreign NHS workers since the crisis began a year ago. 

So far 10,000 people have benefited from the scheme.

Health Secretary 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 the 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.’

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